Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomanovic signs extension till 2025

Ivan Vukomanovic Vipin Pawar/Focus Sports/ ISL

Kerala Blasters have announced that Ivan Vukomanovic will remain the team's head coach after he signed an extension that is set to keep him at the club till 2025.

Vukomanovic guided Blasters to fourth in the ISL league stage and the playoff final. He had come in for the 21/22 season after the team had finished a disappointing 10th in the season before that.

In a video released on their twitter handle, the Serbian said, "After having that positive attitude and energy from the people, and certainly after having seen this army of fans and energy that these fans are giving this team, for me it was quite sure that I would like to be part of this team, this group and this project, so for me it was immediately yes [when they asked about extending the contract]."

Blasters' sporting director Karolis Skinkys had hinted that an extension was around the corner, when telling ESPN about the importance of continuity and sustained improvement.

"I'm happy that we agreed on a three-year deal with Ivan. He adapted seamlessly and is an integral part of the Blasters family. I think it is an important move for our club, and we now have a strong base to continue our work with consistency and achieve more goals," said Skinkys in a release.

Vukomanovic's high pressing, high intensity style ("football is easy, you just have to run") and his easy camera presence had endeared him to fans, before the playoff run added to the affection. His philosophy of never backing down, of running ceaselessly helped the large, vocal fanbase connect further with the club. The sheer numbers that travelled to Goa was a strong endorsement of this connect.

He has, like fellow finalist coach Manolo Marquez, shown an unusual trust in young Indian players to be a part of the spine of the side. Skinkys had also indicated that he and the coach will now work closely to develop the reserve and youth teams to make them first-team ready.