Recently, Mr. Karolis Skinkys, the newly earmarked Sporting Director of Kerala Blasters FC, illustrious for leading FK Sūduva from scratch to earn the championship, found some time from his hustling schedule to share his insights on some of the questions that IFTWC had presented him with.
Mr. Skinkys expressed his happiness when Kerala Blasters FC approached him last year. He said, “Right from the beginning of the communication, I felt trust in the people here, hence the decision to join the organisation was easy. The club has a beautiful vision and I would like to thank the management for trusting me to carry out this vision. I’m very happy to have gotten this opportunity to come to India and feel very motivated to achieve some goals with the club.”
He also said that he was looking for a new project and a fresh challenge, “we managed to win the Lithuanian League 3 times, and with a limited budget we had there, it was hard to expect an achievement more than what we managed at home.”
When asked about the aspects Mr. Skinkys liked here, albeit a series of disappointing seasons, he said, “Kerala Blasters has all the ingredients to be a successful club. In addition to my personal motivation to win a title abroad, I was very happy with the overall environment at the club, passionate supporters and the professionalism of the league. All these factors made my decision easy.”
Mr. Skinkys then talked about how he is going to implement his ideas here to achieve glory, and said, “Looking back at the issues, is pointless at this moment. We now need to think and prepare for the future.
“Some changes have already been implemented. We will now pay more attention in bettering specific protocols like injury prevention, speedy recovery, player fitness and diet etc. It is important to create the right tools and a supportive ecosystem to achieve the desired results.”
The series of disappointing seasons has let the eminent Manjappada down and the crowd numbers have lessened over the years now. On this note Mr. Skinkys said, “Change is a continuous and natural process. Trust of the fans can only be gained back by doing a good job and showing honesty in the efforts we put in for the club. Success will come around.”
Kerala Blasters FC has lost some of their most crucial members such as CEO Viren D’Silva, club captain Sandesh Jhingan who have played some of the most pivotal roles in the history of the club. On this subject matter, Mr. Skinkys said, “Sometimes in life there are situations that are unfortunate, and it is pointless to force and change the natural way of life. They are true professionals and as a club, we have great respect for them.
“As mentioned in my previous interviews, Jhingan’s departure is very painful to me as well. I respect him as an individual. We are in a good enough relationship to stay in touch for the future. This is not the time for us to look back but to move forward to achieve the goals of the club.
“Our target is to have a good team that can best represent the philosophy of the club and carry out the goals set out for Kerala Blasters in the upcoming ISL. We have already announced most of our foreign players and will soon be revealing the remaining squad members too,” he said.
On the note of COVID-19 affecting the sporting system all around the world, clubs have come across a lot of hurdles and challenges. Mr. Skinkys expressed his views on this as, “Without a doubt, all the processes were affected by the pandemic, including recruitment and the season preparation. Not being available in Kerala ahead of the preseason has also been very challenging. However, this is life. Using alternatives like online communications, we have effectively utilised our time to make headway with preparations.”
When asked about how does he plan in incorporating the prospects of the youth footballing system while keeping up the team quality, he said, “As a club, young players are a priority. We have always focussed on giving them a platform to showcase their talent, but nothing, including age, is above quality. We trust in the talent that Indian players have, but the performance of the players are equally important.
“As a club, our core philosophy is to have a team that truly represents Kerala. While we are proud to have fielded 6 local players for the 1st time in the ISL last season on the pitch, it is our vision to continue nurturing football in Kerala and contribute to its growth. Young Blasters is one such initiative that has been commenced with a long-term vision of developing young talents from Kerala.”
And to conclude with the interview, he conveyed his aim for the longer run as to be a winning organisation and to make Kerala Blasters FC the most attractive club for any Indian player.