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ISL 2018-19: Why Kerala Blasters Should Replace David James with Ranko Popovic

olive paul
ANALYST
Feature
Timeless

Kerala Blasters
Kerala Blasters' next boss?

Fans and pundits are deep in discussion over who will replace David James as manager of Kerala Blasters FC.

Blasters have appointed Thangboi Singto as interim coach until a new permanent coach comes in.

This is not the first time that the Blasters have sacked their coach midway through the season.

In ISL 2, they sacked Peter Taylor after six matches in charge. In the previous season, they parted company with Rene Meulensteen after seven games. This season, David James’s side managed to claim only one victory in 12 games.

A humiliating 6-1 defeat at the hands of Mumbai City FC showed the manager lost key figures in the dressing room and the team wasn’t buying what he's selling.

Things became so bad that the Blasters fans started boycotting the matches. However, there's not a lot to be gained from discussing David James and his failures at this point.

The focus should now be on who will replace him with Ranko Popovic looking like a popular choice.

Ranko Popovic, after stepping down as head coach of FC Pune City, expressed his desire to return to India in the future if the right opportunity came calling. 

Speaking to Goal, Popovic, said,

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"Yes, I feel I will come back to India at some point of time in the future. I loved working there. I will return to work after a few months. I will start preparing for some other team. I need some more time to ponder and then decide. Right now, I am happy to spend some time with my family as I have always been on the move for some years,"

It should not be difficult to get him and the former FC Pune City manager must be Blasters' first choice to succeed David James. Not just because he's done a good job at Pune City but his previous successful stints in Asia and elsewhere makes him an ideal candidate.

At Cerezo Osaka in the J-League, he promoted several young players who went on to earn debut call-ups for the Japanese national team. 

Later at Buriram United FC in Thailand, he won the Thai League Cup and Mekong Club Championship. In 2014-15, he led Segunda Division club Real Zaragoza to finals of the La Liga playoffs.

During his time in Pune, he carried on in the same vein. His side played high intensity, entertaining brand of football. He improved the players who were already in the Pune squad while integrating and developing young players.

Ultimately, Kerala Blasters FC needs someone who can meet the three key principles of the football club - promoting youth players, playing exciting football and most importantly the ability to win football matches.

And, Popovic‘s progressive football is the club's best chance of success in the immediate future and is the ideal figure to help restore Kerala’s pride.

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