Ivan Vukomanovic Kerala Blasters ISL 8Getty/Goal

ISL: Kerala Blasters set to sign Ivan Vukomanovic as head coach

Kerala Blasters are all set to sign Ivan Vukomanovic as head coach for the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) season, sources close to Goal have confirmed.

The Serb replaces Kibu Vicuna who parted ways with the club towards the end of a disappointing 2020-21 season. 

The 43-year-old Vukomanovic began his coaching career as assistant at Belgian club Standard Liege in 2013-14 season before his promotion in the subsequent term. He has since managed Slovan Bratislava in the Slovak Super Liga and was last in charge of Apollon Limassol in the Cypriot First Division. However, his stint Apollon Limassol was brief as he could only get one win in the four games he was in charge. 

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Interestingly, Facundo Pereyra, who played for Kerala Blasters last season, played under Vukomanovic at Apollon Limassol before coming to India. 

Facundo Pereyra, Jamshedpur vs Kerala BlastersISL

When Goal contacted Kerala Blasters, the club chose not to comment on the same.

Vukomanovic has won silverware as a manager, having guided Slovan Bratislava to the Slovakian Cup title in 2017. But he couldn't guide the club through the Europa League qualifying stage in the subsequent season and parted ways with them.

Last season, the Yellow Army suffered an underwhelming run wherein they finished second from bottom with 17 points from 20 games. Following their worst defeat in the campaign, a 4-0 loss to Hyderabad, Spanish coach Kibu Vicuna was shown the door when they dropped to the eighth position on the table after 18 games.

Explaining the decision to expel Vicuna, Kerala Blasters sporting director Karolis Skinkys had told Goal in February, "It (the decision regarding the coach) is not related to the result against Hyderabad. It is related to our position on the table after 18 matches.

"Many different circumstances negatively affected results, but we underperformed more than expected. I hear different opinions about the cycle of coach, etc. but ultimately, this team did not play to the best of their abilities. The club and its supporters should not compromise on this."

Ahead of the ISL season 8, Kerala have let go of Rohit Kumar and have signed Harmanjot Khabra, Sanjeev Stalin and Ruivah Hormipam. Defenders Denechandra Meitei and Sandeep Singh have also extensions folllowing the conclusion of last season.