The former Mohun Bagan head coach made some bold statements in a recent online interview with a Polish YouTube channel.
Sunil Chhetri might be a fan-favourite among the Indian football fraternity, but Kerala Blasters’ new head coach Kibu Vicuna is not one of them.
In a live online interview he gave to the Polish YouTube channel “Kanal Sportowy,” he revealed that he has watched Chhetri play, but has not been impressed by him as much as his soon-to-be disciple at Kerala Blasters, Sahal Abdul Samad.
While it will be fairly hard for him to replicate his I-League title-winning success with Mohun Bagan last season at Blasters, the Spaniard believes that he has a good squad under his command. He hopes that will make things easier for both him and the team. He also praised the likes of Nongdamba Naorem and Sahal, two of the Blasters’ best youngsters hoping to create a huge impact in the upcoming 2020-21 season.
“Nongdamba Naorem is a different player. He is intelligent, smart, and technically sound. Sahal Abdul Samad plays for the Indian national team. I watched all of his games from last season. He really is different, very creative, has good vision, good long balls and through balls. I think he was the best footballer I saw in India,” said the former Mohun Bagan boss.
“People in India say that (Sunil) Chhetri is the best player. I have watched him play for Bengaluru FC. He is 35-years-old. He is good, but for me not great.”
Kibu Vicuna also spoke on the circumstances leading to his appointment at Kerala Blasters, revealing that he had held talks with FC Goa before deciding to join the Kochi-based club.
“FC Goa will be playing the AFC Champions League next season. We had held talks with them, but then decided to go to Kerala. Kerala Blasters gave us a better project and that formed the basis of our decision,” he said. The coach added that sealing a playoffs spot and not winning the title, would be his ideal objective for next season – given the current poor form of the Yellow Army.
“ISL has playoffs and then the final and Kerala have never won the league. Two years ago, they finished ninth. In the previous year, they finished seventh. It would be a good deal to qualify for the playoffs next season. The best four teams qualify and it will be difficult,” the 48-year-old explained.
Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan have merged with reigning Indian Super League champions ATK, with the new entity set to participate as a single franchise in the Indian top-flight’s upcoming edition.