Most of the coaches of different Indian Super League (ISL) clubs operate under fake pressure that forces them to go for foreign forwards while ignoring the Indian strikers with good profiles, feels the Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic. The Serbian coach said this while assessing the mentality of the coaches of the country’s top league as his team prepared for a fresh title hunt ahead of the ISL-10.
Kerala Blasters kicks off the ISL campaign on September 21 by hosting Bengaluru FC, the very team against which the former controversially walked out in the play-offs last season.
With the Indian international Ishan Pandita joining the side, Vukomanovic said that his club has always promoted and nurtured Indian talents.
“Many coaches (in ISL) have the tendency of not preferring Indian forwards because of some fake pressure to find results. Most of the teams sign foreign strikers for that. And because of this fake pressure most of the coaches were not allowing Indian forwards with good profiles enough minutes on the ground,” Vukomanovic said during the ISL media day on Wednesday.
With the ISL title still eluding Kerala Blasters, Vukomanovic said the club has not been lucky whenever it played the finals (on three occasions in 2014, 2016 and 2022).
“Once you reach the final, it is about one game and 90 or 120 minutes and then the tie-breaker, where it is more about luck or some individual motivation. We have so many teams around the world who have lost the final many times. It is part of the sport and we have to deal with it,” said Vukomanovic, who is still serving the 10-match ban imposed on him after the forfeiture of the controversial match.
When asked about his team’s chances this season, the Serbian said his side is ready to take on any opponent.
“In ISL you cannot predict how far you can go. The beauty of this tournament is that any team can reach the knockouts. One can start badly, and then from nowhere, one can get into the top half of the league by winning a few matches. It is always challenging, and we are trying to prepare the best team so that it is ready to take on any opponent,” he said.