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Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic calls for the implementation of VAR in ISL

Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic and player Hormipam Ruivah were in attendance. Here is an excerpt from the press conference:

Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic calls for the implementation of VAR in ISL

Ivan Vukomanovic (source: ISL website)


Aswathy Santhosh

Published: 3 Nov 2023 7:26 AM GMT

East Bengal FC is gearing up to host Kerala Blasters at their home ground in an upcoming clash set for Saturday. Both teams have been preparing for the face-off, and during the pre-match press conference, Kerala Blasters' head coach Ivan Vukomanovic and defender Hormipam Ruivah shared their insights.

Ivan Vukomanovic on frequent breaks and game overload

Kerala Blasters' head coach, Ivan Vukomanovic expressed his optimism for the ISL to adopt a format that combines the entire season, including ISL and cup competitions, which he believes will enhance the league.

"The moment you start, then you have like two or three games in the league there is Champions League, national team games, and this has been the norm for decades worldwide. But here, it's a different system. So, I think that when there are breaks, it can help players; it can help teams to develop more, to build up more. The fact that some players go for national teams, because they have quality, they deserve to be there. But for the clubs, it's even better because when you are in it for the long term, it gives you more time to improve. So, I think there is nothing wrong with that, and I believe that, one day, it will happen that the ISL has a format that combines the whole season – ISL, cups, whatever you call it. The clubs have to deal with it, and that's how you improve players in the team."

Ivan Vukomanovic discusses refereeing and the need of technology

The head coach also emphasized the importance of implementing technology in refereeing, citing his experiences in Europe and how advanced technology has become a necessity for improving the league's standards. He highlighted the need for support for referees and technology, expressing concerns that a lack of technology may affect interest in the league from various stakeholders.

"Coming from Europe, particularly Belgium, where we've been using VAR technology since 2015, it's been seven years, and many countries globally have moved on to the third generation of VAR. It's not just a want, but a necessity for the league's enhancement, including support for the referees. Personally, I hold no grudges against referees; they're dedicated individuals doing their best. However, I feel they lack support from the Federation and the relevant organizations, not being provided with the best technology to make their job easier and uplift the league's standards.

This technological advancement is the next logical step for improvement. We all desire it. Game after game, we witness mistakes and poor decisions, with many clubs suffering the consequences in terms of points and rankings. What I fear is that it might lead to a loss of interest from various stakeholders in football – the coaching staff, medical teams, players, media, and fans. This would result in two options: either switching channels while watching games on TV or avoiding the stadium altogether."

Ivan Vukomanovic on the comeback

Reflecting on the team's ability to turn games around, Vukomanovic emphasized the significance of mindset, mentality, and team spirit, especially when dealing with moments of adversity.

There are moments in the game when you find yourself in different situations, leading on the score or chasing the score. It's something we've experienced many times in the past year, having to come from behind. It's about mindset, mentality, and team spirit, even in the absence of key players. We never complain about it; these are young talents who need to step up and grow into serious football players at this level."

"Now we have young players who are versatile and can play in various positions. We adapt to the situation and circumstances, giving opportunities to these young players to prove themselves. This not only raises their football skills but also makes them better players. So, that's the situation we face in tomorrow's game. As I always say, every game is challenging for us, and there are no easy matches, whether at home or away. We have to fight for every point."

On the quality of the League and East Bengal

Vukomanovic acknowledged the increase in the quality of the league this season, both on an individual and collective level.

"I think that this year, the league has seen an increase in quality, both at an individual and collective basis. There are also clubs in the previous years who started the league, not on a flight say not great. But yet later, they catch up and they went up the table. So it doesn't mean anything. The league is just started. And many clubs can still climb up, build up, even us last year, we had first victory and then three defeats and then yet we managed to win eight to nine games. I think East Bengal is a good team, they have quality and are a dangerous team. So we have to be very aware of it."

On the importance of hard work

Vukomanovic stressed on the importance of hard work, commitment, dedication, character, and the mental aspect in a player's football journey.

"When you see young kids playing, this talent can catch the eye of scouts, and when you enter the serious world of football, that initial talent might give you a slight advantage over other kids. But what truly matters in football is hard work, commitment, dedication, character, and the mental aspect. These are the crucial factors in a footballer's journey. When you look at the big stars like Messi and Ronaldo, they are exceptional, but in every football team worldwide, you'll find one star and many hardworking, mentally strong players. This is the essence of football.

So, when we prepare for games, we focus not only on physical preparation but also on mental readiness, how to approach different situations and parts of the game. During matches, players might make mistakes or have decision-making moments that lead to goals being scored or conceded. We have a young team, and we want them to learn and grow through these experiences. Mistakes are part of the learning process. As a club and as a team, we understand this, and as a coach, we guide them through it, knowing it's for their own benefit."

As of now, Kerala Blasters hold the fourth position on the league table, securing three wins and a draw from their five games, while East Bengal currently occupies the ninth position with one win and one draw from four games.

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