Kochi (Kerala) [India], April 23 (ANI): Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) finalists Kerala Blasters FC have roped in former Mohun Bagan boss Kibu Vicuna as the team's new head coach for the upcoming season, the Kochi-based club announced on Wednesday.
Vicuna was in charge of Mohun Bagan last season and led them to the I-League 2019-20 trophy in a campaign which was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He takes over the reins of the team from former head coach Eelco Schattorie, who helmed the team in ISL 2019-20. Kerala announced Eelco Schattorie's departure from the club earlier in the day.
Vicuna started coaching at a very young age, managing teams at school and university levels while he was still a player. His professional managerial career started in 2002 when he took over the youth setup of La Liga outfit Osasuna. During his time there, he played a role in moulding current Chelsea superstar and Spanish international Cesar Azpilicueta, who was in the club's youth system back then.
He then garnered some senior team experience working as an assistant coach under Jan Urban at Osasuna and went on to manage several top clubs in Poland like Legia Warsaw, Zaglebie Lubin, Lech Poznan, etc. After a couple of stints as the manager of Lithuanian club FK Riteriai and Polish side Wisla Plock, Vicuna arrived in India to take over the reins of Mohun Bagan.
With Mohun Bagan set to merge with ATK and play in ISL 2020-21 as a unified unit, the move will also add a new dimension to the traditional ATK-Kerala rivalry which has been one of the biggest draws in ISL since its inception.
"I am very happy to join Kerala Blasters. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to train one of the best teams of the Hero ISL. It is also a very exciting challenge. We (coaching staff and players) are going to do our best in order to play a good style of football and get the best results. Our objective is to make the ever-energetic and supportive fans of Kerala Blasters, proud of our team," said Vicuna after formalizing the move. (ANI)