ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters appoint Nelo Vingada as new head coach
Exactly a month after they parted ways with David James, ISL club Kerala Blasters have appointed Portuguese Nelo Vingada as their new head coach.
This will be the 65-year-old's second stint in India after he steered NorthEast United to a fifth-place finish in the 2016 edition of the ISL.
The Blasters' have had a campaign of sorrow in the ISL this season, having mustered only 9 points from their 12 matches thus far. What's more, they haven't won a single game since their opening day 2-0 victory over ATK.
Also Read: Kerala Blasters part ways with David James
'The Professor', as Vingada is known, has been working with Carlos Queiroz and the Iranian National Team, at the ongoing AFC Asian Cup 2019, after quitting as head coach of the Malaysian National Team in December 2017.
Vingada's first task as the head coach at Kerala would be to bring back a semblance of harmony to a club, which has been hit by unrest within its ranks, after their famous fans took a stand, demanding better performances.
The Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi, so used to holding crowds of between 30,000 and 40,000 for the Blasters' home games, saw crowds of around 8,000 in the last two home games when FC Pune City beat the Blasters and Jamshedpur FC earned a draw.
Vingada will also seemingly have to deal with the departure of a few key players, as it looks likely that CK Vineeth, Halicharan Narzary and Sandesh Jhingan could all seek fresher pastures before the transfer window slams shut at the end of this month.
There has been no clarity yet, from the club, on the role that will be played by Thangboi Singto, who was one of James's assistants.
In an interesting coincidence, Vingada's first and last games in charge of NorthEast United in 2016 were against the Blasters. Katsumi Yusa gave the Highlanders a deserved victory on opening day in Guwahati, while a CK Vineeth goal condemned NorthEast to yet another season with playoff football when the two sides met later in Kochi.“We are happy to welcome Nelo Vingada to Kerala Blasters. With his impressive register of achievements and years of notable expertise, we are positive that his tenure will be successful not just for the remaining season of the ISL but also for the upcoming Super Cup. We wish Nelo all the best on his new assignment.” said Nitin Kukreja, Director, Blasters Sports Ventures Private Limited, which operates Kerala Blasters FC.
“I am equally thrilled to join Kerala Blasters for the remaining season of the ISL. It has always been a pleasure to work with talented Indian boys and I hope to see good results for the team in their upcoming matches,” said Vingada.
Vingada's first game in charge of his new team will be on the 25th of January, in Kochi, where the Blasters welcome the only side they have beaten all season. Vingada will hope his new team can manage to put one past ATK again.