Kerala Blasters FC has signed a new head coach of Serbian descent, Ivan Vukomanović, for the upcoming season of the Indian Super League. He’s their 10th head coach since their inception in 2014. After a series of disappointing seasons, Kerala Blasters FC will be looking to notch the gear up for the 2021-22 season of the Indian Super League. Can he turn the tables and can he turn the fortunes around at Kerala Blasters FC? Here’s all you need to know about the Serb gaffer who’s replaced Kibu Vicuña.
Ivan Vukomanović does not carry a rich background in terms of coaching experience with him. But taking all the seven ISL seasons into account, if there is something that we have understood, it is that not all high-profile coaches have managed to draw plaudits here. In contrast, a lot of low-profile coaches have managed to turn the tables previously.
Ivan Vukomanović is akin to the 4-4-2 formation with double pivots, although having used other formations such as 4-3-3, and so on. 4-4-2 is the most widely used formation in today’s gameplay. This is a defensive formation; nevertheless, Ivan Vukomanović often implements an attacking philosophy in his gameplay. Because unlike 4-4-2 with a flat-four, the same with double pivots will allow attacks to be initiated through either of the flanks. And both the wingbacks and the wingers must be on their toes at all times.
The goalkeeper playing in the formation must also be a sweeper-keeper as he must be integrated into his team’s passing. This formation lacks a playmaker in the midfield. Hence among the two strikers playing upfront, one must have the capability to drop back, hold the ball, and lay it off to the other striker with finesse to finish it off. And among the two double pivots, one must take the defensive role, and the other must take an offensive role, acting as a third striker. This automatically makes both the defence and offence of a team efficient, and this formation clearly helps a team to cover the maximum amount of space possible in the field.
Ivan Vukomanović rotates his players quite a lot. In his 18 games at Standard Liège, he used 28 players, finishing 4th in the league stages.
In 56 games at ŠK Slovan Bratislava, he used 42 players, finishing 2nd in the league stages.
In his 4 games as interim coach at Apollon Limassol FC, he used 21 players, finishing 4th in the league stages.
COACHING HISTORY OF IVAN VUKOMANOVIĆ
Ivan Vukomanović started his coaching career as an assistant manager under Guy Luzon at Royal Standard de Liège, commonly referred to as Standard Liège, of Belgian Pro League in the year 2013. He was promoted as their head coach in the year 2014. Under his reign, they played 18 matches in which they won 9 games, lost 7, and drew 2. Guy Luzon was sacked after 12 games. The club was at 11th position in the tables, and Ivan Vukomanović took over to see the club finish 4th in their league rounds. In the playoffs, Ivan Vukomanović’s club finished fourth and managed to get themselves qualified into the third round of 2015-16 UEFA Europa League qualifiers. Following the sacking of Guy Luzon on October 20, 2014, Ivan Vukomanović was appointed caretaker manager. By virtue of good performance, he was promoted as head coach on November 5, 2014, until the end of the season. He averaged a good 1.61 PPM (points per match) at this club.
After a gap of 1 year, 6 months, and 16 days, Ivan Vukomanović took the mantle by storm at ŠK Slovan Bratislava of Slovak First Football League following the sacking of Nikodimos Papavasiliou. Under his reign, they played 56 matches, of which they won 34 matches, lost 13, and drew 9. His reign there in 2016-17 saw ŠK Slovan Bratislava finish 2nd in their league under Ivan Vukomanović. The club qualified for the first round of qualifiers of 2017-18 UEFA Europa League qualifiers. He was released from the club in the following year. His reign there averaged a soaring 1.98 PPM.
After a gap of 1 year, 10 months, and 10 days, Ivan Vukomanović took over as the interim coach at Apollon Limassol FC of Cypriot First Division for a very short stint, only to be replaced by Sofronis Avgousti. In Vukomanović’s stint there, he coached 4 games, of which the club won 1, lost 2, and drew 1.
An interesting fact to be noted is that Kerala Blasters FC player Facundo Pereyra played under him at Apollon Limassol FC in the match in which Ivan Vukomanović bagged a victory. He has also played against the teams which featured Miku, Lluís Sastre and Cy Goddard.
Ivan Vukomanović will be taking the throne at Kerala Blasters FC after a gap of over 600 days.
PLAYING HISTORY OF IVAN VUKOMANOVIĆ
Ivan Vukomanović is a defender by nature, but stats show that he also liked to score goals every now and then. He started his career with FK Sloboda Užice and went on to play for clubs such as FC Girondins de Bordeaux, 1. FC Köln, Red Star Belgrade, FC Dynamo Moscow, KSC Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen, Royal Antwerp FC, and so on. He played a total of 248 games in which he scored 12 goals.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR KERALA BLASTERS FC?
Ivan Vukomanović’s arrival at Kerala Blasters FC should witness a new brand of football, a brand of football that is alien to them. The new gaffer’s philosophies seem to be different from what’s been seen at the club so far. But only time can tell how well will it benefit the club after a series of disappointing seasons. This move is climacteric and will have far-reaching implications as there’s evidently a lot on the verge for Kerala Blasters at the moment.
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