Renowned TV anchor Khuri Irani teamed up with Karolis Skinkys, the Sporting Director of Kerala Blasters FC in a recently organized interview on Manjappada Instagram live.
Khuri started the live session by asking Karolis about his decision to accept the position at Kerala Blasters, to which Karolis responded saying, “After the club approached me, I did my research and it wasn’t too difficult to make my decision. Previously, I spent 6 years at FK Suduva in Lithuania, and hence I needed a fresh and new challenge to explore and test myself.”
“It’s not any specific work I do. The role of Sporting Director is wide. My job is to control and create different sporting activities including staff, recruitment of players, and deciding as well as taking decisions of the youth team.”, he added when he was asked about his role at the Kochi-based club.
In response to a question about the decision taken to bring Kibu Vicuna as head coach, he said, “This is the one sure decision taken after I have discussed with management. Before appointing Kibu we talked to his previously managed clubs and many other people close to him. Kibu has previously worked in India and knows the football market and the footballing atmosphere here in India. In other positions of technical staff, we always have looked up for professionals and mainly football ambitious persons.”
Talking about the long term philosophy of the club, “We’re trying to sign and keep players on long term contracts who have consistently performed well. It helps the team to improve more every year with the same set of players. Moreover, I have found a very positive mentality in Indian youngsters who are very eager to prove themselves. I am excited to look after their outcomes after the season ends”, he addressed his view about Indian young players.
Khuri continued the session by asking about the absence of fans this season and challenges in the pandemic situation, he said, “Fans are like emotions to players. Every player gets 90 minutes in front of fans where they can prove themselves. The presence of fans always has a positive impact on players. I really hope when we allow fans in the stadium, there will be no empty seats. Speaking about the pandemic, we are trying our best to make pre-season as good as possible. Normally a team needs at least six weeks to prepare, but here we are only getting two weeks where all Indians and foreign players can participate in training before the competition starts. It will be a bit hard to build Chemistry in such a short span. But players should also be smart as they should be injury-free because it has been 7 months since they haven’t been on the field. This increases the risk of injury.”
“Mental condition is the most important factor here in these circumstances. Mental conditioning starts with well-maintained things, where players don’t have reasons to be angry. Six months is a long period to live at the hotel and just play matches, so we have already planned to make some days more interesting with different types of activities excluding football. I have to specially mention our medical team who are doing a great job helping us to follow all medical protocols in this COVID-19 period.” he answered, after being asked about handling the mental health of the team.
Read how Kerala Blasters FC would lineup for upcoming ISL 2020-21, click here
Discussing foreign signings, he said, “We have chosen them looking up at their experience. Quality is the most important as I think. Also it strange rule about choosing one Asian player. This makes the market more unusual as these players expect to get overpaid. But in another aspect, when a team goes for AFC competitions you should have one Asian player. I will be happy to discuss with people who made this one mandatory Asian player rule to make some changes.”
The live session concluded as Karolis left his message to fans saying, “We all are bonded to move forward step by step. Unfortunately, fans are not with us but we will give our best to entertain you all.”