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ISL 2022-23: 9th time's the charm for Kerala Blasters

Here's everything you need to know about Kerala Blasters ahead of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season.

ISL 2022-23: 9th times the charm for Kerala Blasters

The Yellow Army has lost the ISL finals three times. Will the 2022-23 season be any different for them? (Source: ISL)


Aswathy Santhosh

Published: 29 Sep 2022 8:51 AM GMT

The Kochi-based club is infamous for having the most number of coaches in a short period, but this time things are very different. Ivan Vukomanovic the beloved "Aashan" of manjappada has already penned down a three-year deal after leading the club to a semi-final and final appearance only for the third time in eight years.

Last season performance (4th)

Kerala Blasters started their 2021-22 season by getting knocked out of the group stages of the Durand Cup. For all the criticism they've received after the early exit from the Durand cup, it felt like another disastrous season was in the cards for the yellow army.

The tuskers started their Hero ISL season by losing 4 – 2 against ATK Mohun Bagan followed by two more winless games against the Highlanders and Bengaluru FC. Contrary to what the fans expected there was no much-attacking intent from the team but after a slight tweak in the lineup, there was no stopping the yellow army as they went on to qualify for the semifinals in style.

The most important reason behind Ivan's success was his tactical flexibility and the immense trust he had in his youngsters. The trust he placed in the youth players paid off in crucial moments. In the end, the fairy tale of Kerala Blasters climaxed in a heartbreaking manner losing their third final.

About the manager

The 45-year-old Serbian took charge of the yellow army after an awful season under Spanish tactician Kibu Vicuna. He wasn't exactly what the fans were expecting in terms of experience and profile, but Vukomanovic knew what to do with the sinking ship.

Ivan Vukomanovic prefers a 4-4-2 formation with a double pivot and occasionally switches it to a 4-2-3-1. The flexibility of his team was a significant part of its success. Though Ivan likes his team to press the opponents high and go all-out in attack with Sahal, Luna, Jorge Pereyra and Alvaro Vasquez, at times we saw Kerala Blasters waiting calmly to catch their opponents off-guard.

Transfers roundup

The departures of fan favourites Alvaro Vasquez, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, and Sanjiv Stalin were not welcomed by the supporters but the initial upset settled down once the signings were announced.

Incoming: Víctor Mongil, Bryce Miranda, Apostolos Giannou, Dimitrios Diamantakos, Saurav Mandal, Bidyashagar Singh (loan), Ivan Kalyuzhnyi (loan).

Outgoing: Vincy Barretto, Enes Sipovic, Chencho Gyeltshen, Álvaro Vázquez, Sreekuttan VS, Abdul Hakku, Prasanth K, Albino Gomes, Seityasen Singh, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Subha Ghosh, Anil Gaonkar, Denechandra Meitei (loan).


• Squad Depth: even when the team made it to the finals last season the lack of squad depth was visible at times. Midfielders were comparatively less than needed in moments of an injury crisis. With Adrian Luna, Kerala Blasters have added Ivan Kalyuzhnyi to strengthen the midfield.

• Tactical Flexibility: With the addition of players like Bidyashagar, Ivan Kalyuzhnyi, and Saurav Mondal the already versatile team have more options to test in attack and midfield.


• Injury woes: The injury history of players like Dimitrios might become a problem to the yellow army.

• Adrian Luna joining the team for preseason considerably late.


(subject to change)

Goalkeepers: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Muheet Shabir, Karanjit Singh, Sachin Suresh

Defenders: Víctor Mongil, Marko Leskovic, Hormipam Ruivah, Bijoy V, Nishu Kumar, Jessel Carneiro, Harmanjot Khabra, Sandeep Singh

Midfielders: Jeakson Singh, Ivan Kalyuzhnyi, Puitea, Vibin Mohanan, Ayush Adhikari, Saurav Mandal, Adrián Luna, Sahal Abdul Samad, Givson Singh

Forwards: Bryce Miranda, Rahul KP, Nihal Sudeesh, Apostolos Giannou, Dimitrios Diamantakos, Bidyashagar Singh, Sreekuttan M S

Best XI

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