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'Made a move to India because family was not safe in Ukraine'- Ivan Kalyuzhnyi

Prior to their match against Mumbai City FC, Ivan Kalyuzhnyi and Ivan Vukomanovic addressed the media. The Ukrainian spoke about the circumstances in his native country and his contract situation.

Made a move to India because family was not safe in Ukraine- Ivan Kalyuzhnyi

Ivan Kalyuzhnyi


Aswathy Santhosh

Updated: 6 Jan 2023 11:19 AM GMT

One of this ISL season's most crucial games will take place on Sunday between Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters. Before leaving for Mumbai for their away game, Ivan Vukomanovic and player Ivan Kalyuzhnyi spoke to the media.

Ivan Kalyuzhnyi is the first Ukrainian to represent an Indian Super league club and he took the league by storm. He quickly became the favourite of his fans. However, the tale of how a young, gifted player was transferred from a top league to India is not a happy one.

Ivan reflected on the situation in his home country. "When the war started I wanted to move to Poland but my parent club did not find an agreement with them. Then my agent informed me that there is an offer from India. We talked for three months before agreeing on a move. I wanted my family to be in a safe place, it is very difficult in Ukraine".

Ivan is on a season long loan from FK Oleksandriy. However he expressed his interest to continue his stay with the Blasters. "I'm happy with Kerala Blasters and I'd like to continue here. But it is difficult because I'm not a free agent. My club will ask for big money, not small amount".

Vukomanovic welcomes Buckingham's contract extension

Coach Ivan Vukomanovic believes that Kerala Blasters' home loss to Mumbai City at the start of the season happened before his team had a chance to adjust to the squad alterations.

"As a coach or player I like to play these games, because it pushes you to show your best. When you compete against the best teams, you want to be the best. Our defeat was early in the season. We were in a stage where we were figuring out new things, young players coming up. I am also happy that we had a struggling period because it exposes your weaknesses, which you have to work on".

Des Buckingham recently signed a contract extension with Mumbai City FC and joined Ivan Vukomanovic in the 'Class of 2025'. Vukomanovic is delighted about the long term planning of clubs.

"For Indian Super league it is good when quality coaches and players are staying long term. It is the 9th season and ISL needs a lot of improvement. It is good to have quality human beings around. Des Buckingham is a good person and very good coach. I'm happy".

The Hero Super cup is set to resume in April, and Vukomanovic believes that it will help the youngsters. He suggested that the junior team will play in that tournament.

"The cup will bring some extra games and financial gains, but it won't help for qualifying for AFC competitions. I think many clubs will use junior players in-order to give them some playing time. Also, the Asian Cup is coming up so national team players might not be interested to participate, so that they can avoid injuries. We still have to discuss with the club, but mostly we will go for the same option like we did in Durand Cup."

The Blasters can cement their top three spot with a win over Mumbai City FC.

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