Melbourne City assistant lands top job abroad, premiers welcome back familiar face

Petr Kratky has been appointed head coach of Indian side Mumbai City, Isuzu UTE A-League outfit Melbourne City have confirmed.

The City assistant departs Melbourne to take charge of fellow City Football Group (CFG) club Mumbai, where he replaces former assistant Des Buckingham in the Indian Super League.

Ex-City assistant coach Ralph Napoli, who followed Patrick Kisnorbo to French side Troyes in 2022 before the Ligue 2 team parted with the Australian this week, will re-join the three-time reigning Isuzu UTE A-League premiers effective immediately.

Napoli will be on the sideline for Tuesday’s AFC Champions League matchday-six fixture at home to China’s Zhejiang. 

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Image source: Melbourne City

“I am delighted for Petr to have this opportunity to take the next step in his football journey,” said City’s director of football Michael Petrillo.

“He joined Melbourne City as a volunteer and has worked diligently to progress through the ranks of the Academy to the first team, becoming a valuable and well-respected coach in the process. 

“It is one of the great benefits not only for our players, but for our staff to be a part of the City Football Group, which provides a pathway to advance their careers on a global scale. Petr goes with our best wishes and I am sure that Mumbai have secured a great coach following the same path as former Melbourne City Assistant, Des Buckingham.

“We are also delighted to welcome Ralph Napoli back to the club to replace Petr. Ralph is very familiar with the way we work having been a part of the City family for many years, making him a perfect replacement which allows for a seamless transition of coaching staff.”

Kratky initially joined Melbourne City as a volunteer before moving into a coaching position with the Academy in 2018.

He worked his way into the senior coaching ranks in 2021, overseeing the development of Socceroos quartet Jordy Bos (Westerlo), Marco Tilio (Celtic), Connor Metcalfe (St Pauli) and Aiden O’Neill (Standard Liege), who have since earned transfers abroad.

Kratky was part of the side that won back-to-back Premierships and stood in as interim head coach on three occasions, winning all three fixtures.

He takes over a club who have been competing in the AFC Champions League this season – coming up against Neymar’s Al Hilal.

“I remember first arriving at the club and immediately knowing that this was an organisation I wanted to be in long term,” said Kratky.

“Melbourne City is renowned for the high-quality people that make up the environment and I feel privileged to have learnt so much from everyone during my time at the club. 

“I would like to express my thanks to the players and staff, including Director of Football, Michael Petrillo and Football Operations Manager, Pedj Radinovic for their ongoing support during my seven-and-a-half-year journey at City. 

“I am excited to embark on this new opportunity at Mumbai City FC and to continue working within the City Football Group. 

“Lastly, I would also like say a big thank you to our members, fans and everyone who is a part of the Melbourne City family. This club will always have a special place in my heart.”