The 37-year-old will continue with the role of assistant coach at the Kochi-based club until the end of 2022-23 season.

Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Kerala Blasters on Saturday (May 23) announced that Ishfaq Ahmed will continue as their assistant coach, after he signed a three-year contract extension with the club.

“Ishfaq Ahmed continues with us on a three-year contract extension, as the assistant coach of the club,” the club announced on Saturday, via their social media accounts.

Ishfaq Ahmed, who is a former Mohun Bagan and East Bengal star, initially joined Kerala Blasters as a player in 2014, and played there until he hung up his boots three years later. In 2015, he had also taken on the mantle of assistant coach at the club, but assumed the same role at Jamshedpur FC in 2018 post-retirement.

The Kochi-outfit then reappointed the 37-year-old as their assistant coach a year later and he has been working for them since then. The new three-year extension on his contract should mean that he will continue with the Yellow Army until the end of the 2022-23 season.

About the contract extension, he said, “I want to thank the management for giving me the opportunity to serve this amazing club.”

“The journey, thus far has been exciting and I am eagerly looking forward to working with the new coach for the upcoming season,” he added.

In other news, the Blasters parted ways with their captain Sandesh Jhingan on mutual agreement, earlier this week. Recognising the centre-back’s contributions to the club over the past six years, the management also decided to retire his No.21 jersey as a tribute.

Jhingan’s departure, along with the impending resignation of Viren D’Silva as CEO and rumours about both foreign and domestic players at the club being forced to take pay-cuts in light of the COVID-19 situation had left KBFC fans in disappointment over the past few days.

The extension of Ishfaq’s contract as their assistant couch is bound to offer them a little respite during these troubled times. The former midfielder and member of the AIFF Technical committee also holds an AFC ‘A’ coaching licence, and his years of experience with Kerala Blasters is sure to be of great help to Kibu Vicuna, the new head coach of the club.

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