ISL 2020-21: Kerala Blasters part ways with coach Kibu Vicuna

Kibu Vicuna during Kerala Blasters' 2-2 draw against Odisha FC at Fatorda Stadium, Goa, on February 11. Arjun Singh/Sportzpics for ISL

Kerala Blasters FC have parted ways with head coach Kibu Vicuna, the club announced in a statement on Wednesday. The team's assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed will take over on an interim basis for the remaining two games.

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The decision comes following the Blasters' 4-0 loss to Hyderabad in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Tuesday, which ended their hopes of making the playoffs. Since their runner-up finish in 2016, the Blasters have failed to make the playoffs for four consecutive seasons now. Currently 10th in the table, only ahead of Odisha FC, the Blasters have conceded 33 goals, the most by a team this season.

"Unfortunately, the season has been unusual and unexpected. My parents taught me to be responsible of what I am doing so I always give all my heart to it, but also give no excuses. I want to thank all the management, players, coaching staff, and members of the club for their professionalism, kindness, and closeness.

"Specially, I want to express my gratitude to all the Kerala Blasters fans for their support since the first till the last day, which makes you exceptional and amazing. I wish all of you and the club all the best in the future. You deserve it," said Vicuna, who was appointed following his I-League title win with Mohun Bagan last season.

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Karolis Skinkys, sporting director for Kerala Blasters, said, "I would like to thank Kibu for his honesty and responsibility in this decision. We had a clear objective to make improvements this season. Unfortunately, the results were not what we expected. We are grateful for his commitment and professionalism towards the club and wish him well for the future."

The Blasters' remaining fixtures are against Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United FC on February 21 and 26, respectively.