Peprah's qualities aligned aptly with KBFC's transfer period needs: Vukomanovic
Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic and player Kwame Peprah addressed the media ahead of the game against FC Goa. Read the key excerpts here.
It is the battle between top contenders for table top in the Indian Super League on December 3rd as FC Goa host Kerala Blasters in Fatorda. Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic and forward Kwame Peprah addressed the media in Kochi before traveling to Goa for their away encounter.
Quotes from Ivan Vukomanovic
Kerala Blasters are currently sitting on top of the table with 17 points from eight games, but Vukomanovic emphasizes that it is more of a long term process, "I always approach these situations with a long-term perspective. If we reflect on the first season in the bubble, after 10 games, we were sitting at around 17 points, securing a top spot. Last year, in this same period, after eight games, we had fewer points than we do now. We view these achievements as part of an ongoing process and strive to continue our efforts, especially from the beginning of the competition. Our focus is on the long term, building a team that consistently competes at the top of the table. It's important to remember our club's goals, including the obligation to nurture young players with quality."
"This year, we're also determined to reach new heights, staying competitive and fulfilling our role as a team. As a coach, I'm convinced that the entire unit can meet the demands and stay at our current position. While we're pleased with the progress in the first eight games of the season, it's just the beginning. With 14 games to go, more than a third of the season is behind us, but there's still a long way to go. The upcoming second part of the season brings uncertainty, considering factors like the super cup."
However he expressed his happiness about how the project is shaping up, "Despite the challenges ahead, we must acknowledge the constant work over the last three years, following the plan set by the club's management. We're executing strategies together and pleased that everyone is aligned in the same direction. The unity and dedication from players and staff alike are evident, making it gratifying to see our team fighting for success. This success provides extra motivation as we navigate the long season and the unknowns that lie ahead, including the potential super cup."
The games between FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez and Ivan Vukomanovic has always been nail-biting encounters, Ivan Vukomanovic did not hesitate to show his admiration to Manolo. "As we navigate through this season, FC Goa is gradually shaping up under the guidance of a remarkable coach. The significant moves made by the management, particularly in securing the coach's signature, have already proven to be impactful. In the last two seasons, prior to our arrival, the team hadn't been part of the playoffs, emphasizing the positive impact of this decision. The familiarity between the coach and myself dates back to the last two seasons, where our encounters showcased an extreme level of competition, always centered around a single goal and intense tactical battles. Expectations for our upcoming match remain high, anticipating a clash between two competitive teams with quality, especially in the offensive department. It's a pleasure to face him again — not just a great coach but also a great human being."
The foreign forward Kwame Peprah scored his first goal of the season after a goal draught in first seven games, however Ivan Vukomanovic backs his forward talking about the qualities he possess. "Each player, especially in the attacking compartments, possesses unique profiles. Kwame, in particular, is the player whose qualities perfectly align with what we were seeking during the transfer period. Looking at the statistics, he stands out as one of the most dynamic and dangerous striker. As a former defender, I admit facing players like him is challenging due to his constant movement, ability in one-on-one situations, and overall unpredictability on the field. Adapting to a new country and continent always takes time, and Kwame arrived a bit late in the preseason, needing that adjustment period to reach his peak performance and build connections with teammates. Despite this, we maintained our belief in his abilities. In every game, he proves to be a constant threat, contributing significantly to the team's success by creating chances and posing a danger to our opponents."
Vukomanovic also emphasized on the importance of rotations to keep players fit during the league season, "In the ISL, the calendar isn't consistent, with breaks of varying durations between games. As a coach and coaching staff, we constantly track these fluctuations to plan rotations and ensure fresh legs, especially during periods with multiple games in a short span. After two games in three days, we recognized the need to reintegrate certain players, refresh others, and provide playing time to individuals like Marco, who made a significant impact upon entering the pitch. Players like Pritam, after accumulating substantial minutes, required a bit of rest to avoid unnecessary strain and potential injuries."
He also added that playing games every week is an added motivation, "Playing in games like these is always a source of extra motivation for the players. I, as a former player, always enjoyed the prospect of these matches every weekend, if possible. The excitement of a full stadium, the support from the crowd, and the challenge of facing skilled opponents provide that something extra that fuels motivation. It's more than just a game; it's an experience that brings joy to the players."
Quotes from Kwame Peprah
Kwame Peprah, who broke a goal drought in the last game, expressed his enjoyment working under Coach Vukomanovic, "I really enjoy working with my coach because he encourages players and gives us the confidence to do our best. It makes the job easier on the field when you know someone has your back, and even if you make mistakes, he's always there to help you improve. Working with my coach is always enjoyable for me."
Acknowledging his late arrival and adaptation, Peprah highlighted the remarkable unity within the team, "Absolutely, it's true that I arrived late, but being part of this club brings me immense happiness. The unity within the team is remarkable. Even if you face challenges, there's a strong sense of support, and we always have each other's back."
Kwame Peprah concluded by sharing the experience of playing alongside Adrian Luna and Dimitrios, "Playing alongside Adrian Luna, Dimitrios is something truly special for me. Both of them have extensive experience in the game, especially in the ISL, with many more years than me. Their knowledge becomes evident on the field, and I learn a lot from them. Their experience is a tremendous help for my growth on the field."