ISL 2019/20: Kerala Blasters FC sign Macedonian defender Vlatko Drobarov to replace Jairo Rodrigues
Kerala Blasters FC have signed Macedonian centre-back Vlatko Drobarov as a replacement for Jairo Rodrigues, who has been ruled out of the season with an injury. The 27-year-old was without a club this season and had last played for Belasica FK in Macedonia. Drobarov can also operate as a defensive midfielder, offering additional options for Eelco Schattorie.
Jairo Rodrigues was injured during Blasters' outing against Odisha FC at Kochi. The Brazilian was subbed off with a hamstring injury soon after kickoff. Though the initial reports suggested that Jairo will return to action in a few weeks, the club confirmed on social media that the player is out for an extended period and the club is looking for a replacement. In a contrasting report, the player announced that he is recovering and will be fit in two weeks.
The situation was later explained that the centre-back joined the club with a meniscus injury and had been carrying the same in all the games Blasters played. The hamstring injury he suffered against Odisha FC can be recovered from in two weeks but the meniscus sidelines him for the rest of the season.
Kerala Blasters have a handful of players out injured. Sandesh Jhingan, Arjun Jayaraj, Gianni Zuiverloon and Mario Arques are all injured personnels in the Blasters camp. While the foreign recruits are expected to recover soon, Jhingan and Jayaraj might miss the whole season.
Drobarov's arrival will surely help the team's backline. The player, 6ft 1in tall, will be a dominating presence in aerial duels. He had represented Macedonian U19 side in 6 matches in 2011. Vlatko Drobarov made his professional career debut with FK Skopje in the 2010/11 season. He had been a key part of clubs like Teteks in Macedonia and Banents in Armenia.
Kerala Blasters play their next match against Bengaluru FC away from home. It would be interesting to see whether Schattorie plays an all-Indian defence or offers a start to the fresh signing.
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:07 IST