Ivan Vukomanovic – We will compete and prove ourselves in the Durand Cup


Kerala Blasters FC are set to make their first professional appearance for this year’s football season in India through their debut in the Durand Cup, tomorrow.

Adrian Luna, Enes Sipovic, Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Chencho Gyeltshen will be the foreigners stepping foot on the pitch alongside a young Indian squad of the Kerala Blasters. Ahead of their first match against the Indian Navy Football Team, gaffer Ivan Vukomanovic and full-back Jessel Carneiro appeared in front of the press in a pre-match press conference.

Ivan Vukomanovic on how he views the Durand Cup

It’s always nice to be part of such a prestigious tournament. We are honoured to play the Durand Cup. Simultaneously, we are continuing our preparation for the ISL as well, and this tournament will be a step towards our main goal. We would like to compete and prove ourselves here, it is going to be very interesting to participate in this tournament. We will try our best to make everyone who loves Kerala Blasters happy.

Ivan Vukomanovic on the pre-season training so far

“I must admit that I’m very happy about how everything progressed in Kochi. We started on a positive note, we started with a good intention. We are still in the period of completing our team, especially with the foreigners yet to arrive. We are pleased because we worked for five weeks in Kochi with all possible conditions needed for conducting quality training. We have been trying to avoid the injuries as much as possible. We are happy with the professionalism put forth by every player and staff during the training sessions and off the pitch. We are in the process of building a good chemistry and positive atmosphere among ourselves. It was very pleasant spending these five weeks in Kochi.

“Maybe the facilities here (Kolkata) weren’t as expected but we respect everything that’s been done for us. We are a team who will adapt to any situation; and we are continuing our work here as well. The past couple of days haven’t been easy because we were obliged at time to conduct our training sessions at eight in the morning, and it is not easy to organise everything that early. But we respect that and will continue to work.”

Ivan Vukomanovic

Ivan Vukomanovic on the foreign contingent

“Enes Sipovic, Adrian Luna and Chencho (Gyeltshen) are here. Chencho has had a long break. So, we are working with him to get him back to shape as soon as possible. We are expecting the other foreigners to reach India by the end of next week.

Sipovic and Chencho have had previous experience in the ISL, hence they don’t need much time to adapt. They know the league. For the other players, they have played football, and that is a sport that is played worldwide. So, regardless of their lack of experience in the ISL, they will put forth everything they have learned having played globally and they will become an integral part of the ISL and Kerala Blasters, and improve more moving forward. We took in these foreigners because we saw certain qualities in them, certain aspects that they will bring to the team. So, we are very pleased with the signings and I believe, in the end, we will have a good group of players who will adapt well and create a good atmosphere in the team.”

Jessel Carneiro on how he views the Durand Cup

Each and every game is the same, all of them are important, whether it is a practice match or a tournament. We will go all out and give our best. We need to show what we’re capable of. Whenever we get an opportunity to perform, we need to show the quality we possess.

About the injuries, it’s a part of the game and you can’t control it. If you are injured, you cannot do anything. But we will never step back, and we will play to the best of our capabilities.”

Jessel on coach Ivan Vukomanovic

I’m still trying to adapt to the coach’s tactics, and I’m trying to give my best to him and to the team. As an individual, I would say he is a fantastic person. He takes good care of the players. Whatever we have practiced in our sessions, we will try our best to implement it on the pitch.”

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