Jo Paul Ancheri is a former Indian professional footballer-turned-pundit who works as a commentator for Star Sports Malayalam. A versatile player, Jo Paul has played in different positions such as midfielder, defensive midfielder, defender, and also as striker during his eventful career. A born leader, he has captained the Indian national football team. During the 1993-1994 season, after completing his transfer to the Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan, his world-class performances cemented a place among football fans nationwide. Like his fellow Keralite, I. M. Vijayan, Jo Paul was also called up to represent the Indian national football team shortly after displaying consistent performances in the domestic league.
Jo Paul Ancheri was born on Monday, 2 August 1976 (age 46 years, as of 2022) in Thrissur, Kerala, India . From an early age, he showed a keen interest in football and started participating in football matches and training camps. He recalled participating in the training camps, which helped him receive the opportunity to play football professionally. He started following a healthy lifestyle that benefitted him in the long run as a professional footballer.  He lived a special moment that does not often happen for a professional footballer when he scored his first international goal on his debut match for the Indian national football team.
Height: 5′ 9″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Jo Paul Ancheri hails from Thrissur, Kerala.
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information about his parents and siblings on the internet.
Wife & Children
Jo Paul married Premy, who hails from Pazhanji village in the Thrissur district. Premy was delighted when she heard that Jo Paul was interested in marrying her. Interestingly, her first meeting with a celebrity was when Jo Paul came to her home to ask for her hand in marriage. It was an arranged marriage on December 28, 2008, at the Marta Mariam Big Church in Thrissur. At the time of their marriage, she was working at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram; Jo Paul had already announced his retirement as a professional footballer and was working as the chief coach of the Mohun Bagan Sail Football Academy. In an interview, she revealed that they chose Kolkata as their honeymoon destination as Jo Paul was working with Mohun Bagan at the time of their marriage. However, the nature of his work limited the time the newlywed couple could spend together. After a while, Premy went back to Thiruvananthapuram to resume her work. She let out that this was something Jo Paul had already discussed with her and made sure whether or not she was comfortable being the wife of a footballer or will Premy be able to manage by herself as he might be away for long periods, which she agreed to adjust. 
Jo Paul Ancheri showed an interest in football from his early school days. He was focused on developing and dedicating himself from a very early age to being a footballer. He worked hard and disciplined himself at training camps and received his first professional contract when the State Bank of Travancore Football Club (SBT) signed him in 1992. Even after having such a phenomenal career, he never got the recognition he deserved.
State Bank of Travancore Football Club (SBT)
Jo Paul’s professional career began with the State Bank of Travancore Football Club (SBT), currently the State Bank of India Kerala Football Club. After his breakthrough from training camps, he was called to play for SBT in 1992. They hit off perfectly, with Jo Paul consistently delivering worthy performances matching the hype surrounding him. After spending his first professional season at the State Bank of Travancore Club, he left them at the end of the 1992-1993 season.
After a stunning season at the State Bank of Travancore, Jo Paul received offers from numerous clubs. After lengthy discussions, he finally put the rumours to rest when he announced that he had signed for the Kolkata-based Mohun Bagan. He was thrilled by the idea of playing with I.M. Vijayan, also from Thrissur, Kerala. He delivered top performances and won the hearts of the fans quickly. His debut season with the Kolkata team was memorable, and he went on to score in his debut match.  He established himself as a fan favourite through his enthralling performances. Jo Paul’s first-ever season with Bagan was historic as they won the Calcutta Football League (CFL), Sikkim Governer’s Gold Cup, Durand Cup and the Federation Cup. He produced a hat trick in the final of the Sikkim Gold Cup to win the game for his side after they trailed by two goals.  His first stint at Mohun Bagan lasted only one season; he left them the following year. During the 1993-1994 season, he established himself as one of the best players in the country and received his first call for the Indian national team. He returned to Mohun Bagan in the 1998-1999 season playing for the remaining season, eventually leaving them after the season finished. After playing a brief period for their arch-rivals East Bengal (2001–2002), Jo Paul returned to Mohun Bagan in the 2004-2005 season, marking his final season as a professional player.
JCT Football Club
He joined JCT Football Club after his first season with Mohun Bagan. He joined the Punjab-based club in 1994 and was part of the squad till 1997. During this time at the club, he enjoyed tremendous success, as they won the Scissors Cup title(1995) and the Federation Cup(1996). JCT won the inaugural NFL title in the 1996–97 season. They went on to secure the IFA Shield title in 1996. After three successful seasons at the club, Jo Paul decided it was time to move on and find a new challenge. He left JCT Mills FC (now known as Jagatjit Cotton & Textile Football Club) in 1997 and returned to Kerala to play for FC Kochin. He returned to the Punjab-based club after five years in 2002; he was a part of the club for the next two seasons and left them at the end of the 2003-2004 season. 
Jo Paul joined the newly established FC Kochin (“Football Club Kochin” was a professional football club which used to play in the National Football League) after completing the move from JCT Football Club. He was also accompanied by I.M. Vijayan, with whom he has shared many matches as teammates and rivals. FC Kochin became champions of the Durand Cup in the 19997-1998 season, where they beat Mohun Bagan in the finals 3-1. Jo Paul captained FC Kochin in the final against his former club and displayed a terrific performance when they out shadowed Mohun Bagan. In their first-ever season, they reached the finals of the Scissors Cup (1997) held in Kerala. They were against the Bahraini side West Riffa club, who were declared winners after a coin toss when a power cut happened in the stadium. He then decided to leave the club at the end of the season and announced he would be joining Mohun Bagan for his second stint at the Kolkata-based club. However, he returned to FC Kochin in the following season(1999-2000) from the Kolkata side, staying at the club for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons and signed with East Bengal for the 2001-2002 season.  He spent his first and final season for East Bengal during the 2001-2002 season and agreed to join the JCT Football Club at the end of the 2001-2002 season.
On 14 September 1994, Jo Paul made his international debut and scored his first-ever international goal against Bangladesh. Jo Paul’s stellar season with Mohun Bagan had not gone unnoticed in the national football world. He made headlines when the transfer news of him joining the Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan broke out. He became a key player for the Mohun Bagan side, despite being a new face at the club. He recalled that the early success with Mohun Bagan was the main reason for his international chances in 1994.  He was part of the Indian national football between 1994-2004. He has made appearances for the Indian national football team in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the SAFF Championship and the South Asian Games. He was part of the Indian team that won the South Asian Football Federation Cup in 1997 and 1999, respectively. In 1995 they finished as runners-up against Sri Lanka, who scored the winning goal in the 108th minute after normal time had ended goalless. He was also part of the team that reached the second round of the Asian Games in 1998. In the FIFA World Cup qualifiers of 2002, Jo Paul scored twice against Yemen to help the team secure a draw as the match ended 3-3. Jo Paul scored the only goal in India’s win against Brunei on 11 May 2001 to secure three points in the World Cup qualifiers. In India’s 5-0 win over Brunei on 20 May 2001, Jo Paul found the back of the net. He was part of the Indian squad that ended up the runner-up of the 2003 Afro-Asian Games. He made his last appearance for the Indian national team in 2004. His international career was cut short after suffering from an ankle injury forcing him to announce his early retirement from international football.
After announcing his retirement from professional football, Jo Paul tried his luck in football commentary. He is famous for his role as a Malayalam commentator and pundit for Star Sports Malayalam. He is also a part of the Regional Experts Panel by ViaCom18 for the ongoing FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. 
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Jo Paul won the LG Cup with India(U23) against the host nation Vietnam in 2001.
- All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year Awards: He has won the prestigious award two times, in 1994 and 2001. 
- He was named by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for the Arjuna Awards in 2004 and 2005. 
- He shares a special bond with former footballer I.M. Vijayan. The two have played together at Mohun Bagan, JCT Football Club, FC Kochin, East Bengal and were part of the Indian national football team between 1994-2003. The special bond Jo Paul and I. M. Vijayan share produced some of the best moments in Indian football at international stages and domestic levels. They both acknowledge mutual respect, love and affection for each other are the main factors for their friendship to have lasted this long. It is rare to see two football professionals share stages as long as they have.
Memories ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8YmUvHk22f
— I M Vijayan (@IMVijayan1) May 4, 2020
- He appeared in the Malayalam drama ‘Aanaparambile World Cup’ directed by Nikhil Premraj, along with his long-term friend I. M. Vijayan.
- After Jo Paul was dropped from the Indian national football team following an ankle injury he suffered, he was required to take up a job as a Lower Division Clerk in the Kerala State Government’s Ministry of Health and revealed that he struggled to come to terms with his situation after everything he had done for his country. 
- Jo Paul is a member of the special observation panel for the Novus Soccer Academy led by former Indian captain U Sharaf Ali. Former Indian players like I. M. Vijayan are also in administration roles in this mega-project which aims to establish a professional football club under the academy by 2028. 
- After Stephen Constantine stepped down as the head coach of the Indian national football team in 2019, Jo Paul suggested that the All India Football Federation appoints an experienced foreign manager who can take the Indian team to new heights. Igor Štimac succeeded Constantine as the head coach of the Indian national football team in 2019. Igor Štimac, the former Croatian international, was part of the Croatian national team who won the bronze medal in the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He also managed the Croatian national football team between 2012-2013.
- 1 ↑ Transfermarkt
- 2 ↑ Jo Paul Ancheri Interview – DD Malayalam
- 3 ↑ Transfermarkt
- 4 ↑ The New Indian Express
- 5 ↑ Jo Paul Ancheri Interview – DD Malayalam
- 6 ↑ Goal
- 7 ↑ Transfermarkt
- 8 ↑ Jo Paul Ancheri Interview – DD Malayalam
- 9 ↑ Goal
- 10 ↑ The New Indian Express
- 11 ↑ 90min
- 12 ↑ Rediff.com
- 13 ↑ The Telegraph
- 14 ↑ The New Indian Express