ISL: Who is Ivan Vukomanovic - Kerala Blasters’ new coach?

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Kerala Blasters are all set to sign Serbian coach Ivan Vukomanovic as the club’s new manager for the upcoming 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) season. 

The former FC Bordeaux defender will replace Spanish coach Kibu Vicuna at the helm who had parted ways with the club towards the end of the 2020-21 season. 

Vukomanovic has prior experience of working with Belgian top division side Standard Liege as their head coach. He has also managed Slovakian club Slovan Bratislava and Cypriot club Apollon Limassol FC. 

Also, Kerala Blasters attacker Facundo Pereyra who had joined the ISL side in the 2020/21 season had earlier played under the tutelage of Ivan Vukomanovic at Apollon Limassol FC in the Cypriot league. The Serbian had served as an interim coach at Apollon during the 2019-20 season. 

Here are five things to know about the Serb. 

  1. Ivan Vukomanovic
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    Played alongside former French international Sylvain Wiltord

    Ivan Vukamanovic was a part of the FC Bordeaux side which won the Ligue 1 in the 1998/99 season. At Bordeaux, Vukomanovic shared dressing room with former Euro Championship winning French winger and former Arsenal player Sylvain Wiltord.   
  2. Ivan Vukomanovic
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    ‘Journeyman’ Vukomanovic

    As a player, Ivan Vukomanovic played for 12 different clubs in his 17-year-long professional career in seven different countries. Other than Bordeaux, he has played for Red Star Belgrade, FC Koln and Royal Antwerp. The centre-back ended his career in Chinese club Qingdao Hainiu Football Club in 2011. 
  3. Ivan Vukomanovic
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    Has won only one trophy as a manager

    The 43-year-old coach has so far managed just three clubs in his managerial career and has won just one trophy. The only silverware he won was the Slovak Cup in 2017 while being the coach at Slovan Bratislava. 
  4. Unai Emery Villarreal 2021
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    Managerial debut against Unai Emery's Sevilla

    Ivan Vukomanovic faced Unai Emery's Sevilla on his managerial debut for Belgian club Standard Liege in the Europa League in 2014-15 season. Vukomanovic's side managed to hold the Spaniards to a goalless draw. 

    But did you know that there was a doubt cast over his debut as a manager as Vukomanovic did not possess a UEFA pro licence at the time of his debut. But the club later cleard the air by issuing a statement which read, "Our club received confirmation on Tuesday that Ivan Vukomanovic can coach without problems on Thursday even though he does not currently hold a UEFA licence.

    "The UEFA rule provides for a transition period of 60 days during which the requirement of having a coach holds the pro licence is suspended."

  5. Ivan Vukomanovic
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    Sacked from Standard Liege for being 'inexperienced'

    After serving Standard Liege as their assistant coach during the 2013/14 season, Vukomanovic replaced head coach Guy Luzon at the helm of affairs in 2014/15 season. Initially he was appointed as a caretaker manager but within a month he was appointed as a full-time coach due to 'good results'. Under his coaching, Standard Liege picked 28 out of a possible 39 points in the league but despite that he was sacked from his position midway into the season citing lack of experience as a head coach. 

    The Serbian was offered to assist new coach Jose Riga to which he had responded, "To propose to me to remain in the staff, it is only to be politically correct towards the players and the supporters. I could have been fake a** and say yes. Tap Riga on the shoulder and then do nothing but I'm not like that. I'm a straightforward, honest person. So I decided to leave Standard."