Written By: Nandana
Thank You Ivan Vukomanovic
Eight seasons, three-time finalists, numerous ups and downs, lot of familiar faces came and left. When Ivan Vukumanovic came to the scene, a lot of work was to be done with a team that had fresh foreign arrivals, a brew of young and old Indian talents and expectations of infinite fans, who longed for a trophy for the last eight years. Even though the trophy is yet to come to Kerala, this season was special.
With back to back lows in the points table, frequent shuffles in the gaffers position, Ivan had a tough job. Build a team, make them believe, play the good football that Kerala was waiting for and to win. Winning mentality is something which the Serbian focussed on since the beginning. When you fight with all your might to win, you will find the goal just like the men in yellow paved the way this season.” Victory is not the most important part of football, but what we want to do is teach our players what is winning mentality “.
The blasters camp woke up to this mantra for the last couple of months in their bio-bubble life.
While we’ve had some interesting press interactions, Ivan had a special connection. Since the very first press conference, we had the feeling that Blasters is in safe hands. The conviction and positivity he brought to the table is admirable and were truly visible throughout the season, among the team and its performance. He reminded us initially that we should stay calm and speak through our game, when we started winning, he reminded us to be humble. His ideologies have truly been shaping the Blasters inside and out this season. However, It has not been flower roads. Tough times like the COVID outbreak were unfortunate, but how the camp prepared mentally even though they were physically weak during the time, and came back to winning ways will always be remembered. The season had crazy superstitions too, praying for Ivan to wear his statement white shirt, blasters to wear yellow, some things gave us confidence, but as the time went past, the game led us.
Ivan’s Kerala Blasters sounds like a dream you never want to wake up from; the 44-year-old had 23 games, 10 wins, 8 draws and just 5 losses. Most points, most wins and least losses in a season, club’s longest unbeaten run, you name it, all happened. A stable defensive line for a team that had the second-worst backline last season, no dependence on a single player for scoring goals, the trust he gave for young players when needed is commendable, making blasters the team with the highest number of minutes given to U-21 players. More than the results, we saw good football. Big names came and left, but this bunch played as a team. Young ones like Gill, Ayush, Hormipam, Bijoy shined, Sahal scored goals, perhaps his best season so far. When you had zero expectations after the last few seasons, but a hope that everything will be all right, Ivan’s men gave us everything. The closed stadium thing was suffocating, and when Ivan said ” Kerivaada makkale”, literally everyone just left for Goa, even without tickets saying Ivan called, we will figure out everything later. The past few weeks have been nothing less than a festival, celebrating football, celebrating a team that became a family. Going to Kaloor, preparing and rehearsing the chants, making banners, the yellow sea was waiting to touch its shore, Fatorda witnessed the yellow wave; so did Kerala, Delhi, Kuwait, UAE Canada and many more. Whatever you did, we loved it and we can’t wait for the next season!
Once again Thank you Ivan Vukumanovic for the spectacular season