Pappachen Pradeep is a former Indian professional footballer-turned-pundit. Pradeep started his football career as a forward but established himself as one of the best midfielders to play for the country. He has played in every position other than goalkeeping, versatile and agile, he believed that the knowledge gained by playing in unfamiliar positions benefitted and improved him as a player.
Naduparambil Pappachen Pradeep was born on Thursday, 28 April 1983 (age 39 years, as of 2022) in Moolamattom, Idukki, Kerala, India. He did not have financial security as a child, his parents worked hard to support the family. Pradeep was fascinated by football from a young age and at the age of 17, he was signed by the State Bank of Travancore football club after noticing his potential. Pradeep enjoyed tremendous success with the Indian national football team and was the captain of the India U23.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
NP Pradeep in 2022
NP Pradeep comes from a modest Malayali family in Moolamattom, Idukki, Kerala. After his marriage, he shifted to Kannur, Kerala, India.
Parents & Siblings
NP Pradeep’s father’s name is Pappachen, he passed away in 2007. His mother is Savitri. Pradeep has two sisters, Preethi and Deepthi. His mother and sisters still reside in Idukki.
Wife & Children
He is married to Byula. She hails from Kannur, Kerala, India. They were married on 26 December 2008. The couple has a daughter together, named Ann Jerrica.
Pradeep with his wife, Byula
Pradeep began his career as an attacker, but his coaches have used him in different positions and he played in all those positions like a natural. Pradeep’s versatility provided him with an advantage everywhere he went, he excelled in different positions and helped his team. He was famous for scoring long-range stunners with his powerful left leg, perhaps the most important goal he scored would be the goal in the 2007 final of the Nehru Cup for India. He was fondly called the Steven Gerrard of India, due to his ability to score outrageous long-range goals.
Pradeep during his career
Pradeep struggled hard during his initial days as a professional footballer. The lack of financial means was a big hindrance for him to growing professionally. When SBT signed him, he grabbed the chance and made it count. He went on and became one of the best footballers India has seen. He enjoyed success with top clubs and also with the Indian national team.
State Bank of Travancore football club
The State Bank of Travancore football club signed the attacker when he was just 17 years of age. It was during this period he was transformed into the midfielder position. Pradeep who was agile and had good goalscoring skills cemented himself as one of the highest-scoring midfielders. During his time at SBT, he helped them win four Kerala League titles. He also represented Kerala under 17 and Under 21 teams during his time at SBT. During 2002-2006, Pradeep emerged as the top transfer target for many clubs playing in the national league and the Mumbai-based Mahindra United showed the most interest.
Pradeep joined Mahindra United to play in the national league. This transfer news broke in the football world and heated discussions followed. His performance and versatility were the key factors that made Mahindra United sign him, he joined the club during the 2006-2007 season. This was a win-win situation for the player and the club, who enjoyed success together. He was part of the club till the end of the 2009-2010 season, after which the management decided to disband the team. Pradeep was able to develop different aspects of his game during this period where he often played as a fullback. It was a role where he excelled, he was agile and very attack-minded which gave him an edge over his opponents. After spending five years at the club, he bid farewell to the fans after the last match of the 2009-2010 season.
After finding himself without a club, Pradeep signed with Viva Kerala in 2010. He played for them in the 2010-2011 season and left them at the end of that season.
Pradeep joined the Mohun Bagan after spending a season at Viva Kerala. He completed his move from VIva Kerala at the end of the 2010-2011 season. The contract was for one season, he struggled to get any minutes and found himself on the fringes of the Mohun Bagan bench. Pradeep decided to leave Mohun Bagan at the end of the 2011-2012 season to get more minutes.
Mumbai Tigers FC
Pradeep joined the Mumbai Tigers FC (formerly known as Dodsal FC) at the start of the 2012-2013 season, hoping to prove himself as he failed to do so at Mohun Bagan. Reports are suggesting that then-coach Bimal Ghosh and Pradeep’s liking for the city were the main factors that made him sign for the Mumbai Tigers FC. He played for a season at the club and regained his form, he was able to secure a transfer to the Mumbai Football Club at the end of the season.
Mumbai Football Club
Pradeep signed with the Mumbai Football Club in the 2013-2014 season. He was part of the club during 2013-2016 and completed a loan spell at Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League. Mumbai was his final club as he announced his retirement from professional football at the end of the 2015-2016 season.
NP Pradeep was part of the inaugural season (2014) of the Indian Super League Cup. He joined Chennaiyin FC on loan from the Mumbai Football Club.
Chennaiyin announcing the signing of NP Pradeep on their Facebook page
The fans were happy to finalize the deal with the Keralite over their rivals Kerala Blasters. His experience was vital to the squad in their debut season. However, he did not feature much for the club and left at the end of the season once his loan deal had expired. This was his final season in the Indian Super League, having never participated in the tournament again.
He made his international debut in 2004 for the India U20 and was also selected for the U23 team. Pradeep has captained the U17, U20 and U23 teams of India. He won the silver medal with the India U20 in the 2004 South Asian Games. He was regarded by many as the player who had the potential to surpass the records of IM Vijayan. He received his first international call-up during the 2005 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup in Bangladesh, in which India ended up as the winner, he was also part of the team that ended up as the runner-up of the SAFF Cup in 2008. Bob Houghton, the then-Indian coach, initially used Pradeep as a left-back, but he was back in his midfield position by the start of the 2007 Nehru Cup. The 2007 Nehru Cup competition turned out to be the decisive factor in Pradeep’s international career, as he established himself as a regular starter for the team after having a fantastic campaign. He scored the opening goal for India in the Nehru Cup and added to his tally in the final against Syria, which helped India to win its first-ever Nehru Cup.
NP Pradeep celebrating after scoring the goal in the Nehru Cup final (2007)
He arrived back in Kerala to a hero’s welcome. Pradeep’s performance in the 2007 Nehru Cup was praised by critics and fans alike. He went on to win the Nehru Cup again in 2009 with the Indian national football team. He was part of the Indian football squad that won the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, which qualified them for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. During the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, Pradeep played a vital defensive role for the Indian football team. He was able to deliver individual performances that caught the eyes of many, however, India failed to win any of their group matches and was eliminated from the competition. Pradeep has not represented India since 2011 and shortly after announced his retirement after injuries made it impossible for him to continue at the international level.
After announcing his retirement from professional football, he worked as a scout for the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC). In 2016, it was announced that he was appointed as an official player scout for the Indian Super League team Kerala Blasters. He has worked as a commentator for the Star Sports Network and was a pundit analysing the Indian Super League Cup in Malayalam.
NP Pradeep with IM Vijayan and Jo Paul Ancheri during the Hero ISL season 6
- He played in a fundraiser match along with IM Vijayan, to help the family of the late Dhanarajan who passed away while playing in a football match in Kerala. Dhanaranjan was a former professional footballer who used to play in the I-League.
It was a wonderful atmosphere yesterday at Vaniambalam -Kerela..Very well organised.Thanks for the great initiative by @IMVijayan1 &Joe for this benefit match to help Dhanraj family and special thanks to Pradeep & Yashik for conducting the entire event successfully.#RIPDhanraj pic.twitter.com/U7ozkbtpEG
— RamanVijayan (@vijayan04) January 13, 2020