The arrival of new coaches at Kerala Blasters FC and FC Pune City will give a fillip to the teams but their pre-season goal of qualifying for the Indian Super League (ISL) knockouts seems unlikely.
When the ISL resumes after a 40-day break on Friday, Kerala fans will get to see a new man in their dugout against ATK in Kochi.
Having parted ways with former England goalkeeper David James following a miserable run of form, the Blasters roped in former NorthEast United FC manager Nelo Vingada to steady the ship in their final run of fixtures this season.
But will a change in coach midway into the season help? For answers, Blasters only have to look at their own history to know that such a move has not really brought about desired results.
Vingada is the second coaching change at an ISL franchise this season after FC Pune City replaced Spaniard Miguel Angel Portugal with Pradhyum Reddy after just three games.
Since Reddy took over at the Stallions, there has been a minor upturn in Pune’s fortunes. Though English coach Phil Brown has now taken over, a playoff spot still seem unlikely with the club languishing in the seventh spot with 11 points from their 12 games.
Last season in the ISL, as many as three teams, including Blasters, changed their head coach midway through their respective campaigns. Kerala gave former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen the boot after a run of seven games which fetched just one win, while NorthEast parted ways with Joao de Deus.
At ATK, the managerial merry-go-round saw Teddy Sheringham replaced by technical director Ashley Westwood, before they ultimately finished the season with Irish striker Robbie Keane in a player-cum-coach role.
“I am 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.” Vingada said after his appointment.
Vingada should know the tough task he has on his hands, even though a play-off push will no doubt be expected with the Portuguese’s appointment.