Kerala Blasters have appointed Mohun Bagan’s I-League winning coach Kibu Vicuña as Head Coach to replace the outgoing Eelco Schattorie. This is the 10th managerial appointment made by the Blasters since the club was founded in 2014.
The 48-year-old Spanish coach led Mohun Bagan to the 2019-20 I-League title with four games to spare. After a shaky start, the Kolkata side kept up a 14 match unbeaten streak which included 12 wins. They lost only one game during the season before the league was called off due to the coronavirus outbreak. With the Mariners picking up an unassailable lead at the top of the table, they were declared winners by the AIFF League Committee and the league has been suspended.
Before joining the Mariners, Kibu was head coach at Lithuanian side K Riteriai/FK Trakai following which he managed Wisła Płock, a Polish top division side, in 2018-19.
Most of Kibu’s experience has been as assistant manager to Jan Urban, the Polish manager, notably at Spanish club CA Osasuna and top Polish side Legia Warsaw.
In his managerial career, Vicuña has coached César Azpilicueta, Javi Martinez, Nacho Monreal and Raul Garcia and has several coaching certifications from the Spanish FA.
Kerala Blasters under Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie finished a disappointing 7th in the 2019-20 ISL season – a marginal improvement from the season before where they finished 9th. The arrival of Kibu who demonstrated keen tactical acumen and adheres to an expansive brand of football could ignite the Kochi faithful and fill up the stands like they did in the seasons prior.