Kerala Blasters have announced the departure of their Dutch head coach Eelco Schattorie after only one season at the helm. Under Eelco, Kerala finished 7th in the recently concluded ISL 2019-20 season – up from 9th the season prior, but well out of reach of the play-offs.
Eelco is the 9th manager to have exited the club in the last six years – a regular manager merry-go-round which also included two spells with former England International David James.
Before turning up to coach in India, the 48-year-old outspoken manager had extensive experience managing clubs in the Middle East – he held managerial positions in UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. In India, he managed Prayag United (now United Sports Club) between the years 2012-14 followed by East Bengal in 2015. He successfully guided Northeast United to a play-off position in the 2018-19 ISL which caught the attention of Kerala Blasters who recruited him for the 2019-20 season.
In a recent interview with Star Sports commentator Anant Tyagi, Eelco reflected on the season gone by:
I had a very positive conversation with the management before I joined and was eager to get started. I didn’t have complete control over the recruitment and it could have been stronger but that wasn’t a big problem.
With the team we had, we should have qualified for the semis if everyone stayed fit. But honestly, we lacked the consistency.
In the end, I take responsibility for the fact that we didn’t succeed. But there were external things at play as well. Our pre-season was poor and it was a big blow to our plans.
Also, there were several injuries. I haven’t seen so many injuries in a season in my 25 years of coaching. We played 17 matches with different starting line-ups.Eelco Schattorie
Rumours are abound that Mohun Bagan’s I-League winning coach Kibu Vicuña is the likely replacement for the outgoing Schattorie.