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Manager Profile: Who is Mikael Stahre, Kerala Blasters FC's new head coach?

Published at :May 23, 2024 at 6:54 PM
Modified at :May 23, 2024 at 6:54 PM
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(Courtesy : Kerala Blasters FC)

Samannay Sen

The Swedish manager signed a two-year contract for The Tuskers

The tides of change have swept across Kerala Blasters FC. Following the departure of Ivan Vukomanovic, the Kochi-based ISL club announced the appointment of Mikael Stahre as their new head coach on May 23rd, 2024.

This move signals a fresh start for the passionate yellow brigade, injecting a wave of optimism into the fanbase. The Blasters faithful now turn their attention to Mikael Stahre, a 48-year-old Swedish manager with a distinguished career spanning various leagues. The 2023-24 campaign for Kerala Blasters was a story of unfulfilled potential.

Vukomanovic, despite guiding the Blasters to the playoffs for a third consecutive year, couldn’t deliver the elusive trophy. Injuries to key players like Adrian Luna and Sachin Suresh disrupted the team’s rhythm, and Vukomanovic’s tactics, while successful in the past, seemed unable to adapt to the evolving challenges of the ISL. 

Inconsistency plagued the Blasters, with thrilling victories often followed by disappointing defeats.  While glimpses of their attacking prowess emerged, particularly in the opening stages of the season, the finishing touch often eluded them. 

The lack of a reliable backup plan for crucial players further exposed weaknesses, leaving fans yearning for a more robust and consistent approach. This is the landscape Stahre inherits. 

Kerala Blasters possesses a passionate fanbase and a squad with undeniable talent.  However, translating that talent into consistent victories and, ultimately, trophies, remains the key challenge. 

Stahre’s experience in managing across diverse leagues and his reputation for an attacking, possession-based style of play offer a ray of hope for the yellow brigade. Can he unlock the full potential of the Kerala Blasters squad and deliver the success the fans crave?

Let’s delve deep into the profile of Mikael Stahre.

Who is Mikael Stahre?         

Mikael Stahre, a Swedish football manager, has recently taken the reins as head coach of the Indian Super League (ISL) club Kerala Blasters. The 48-year-old signed a two-year contract, keeping him with the Blasters until 2026.

Stahre boasts nearly two decades of experience managing clubs across various leagues, including Sweden, China, Norway, the USA, and Thailand. He brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership to the Kerala Blasters, making him the first Swede to manage an ISL club.

Work Experience

Stahre’s managerial journey began in his native Sweden, where he led Assyriska FF to promotion from the third division in 2011. He then went on to manage several established clubs in Sweden, including IFK Göteborg, BK Häcken, and AIK Solna. 

His most notable stint came with IFK Göteborg, where he guided the team to a respectable 4th place finish in the 2022 Allsvenskan season.

Stahre’s international experience includes a brief but eventful spell with San Jose Earthquakes in Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2017-2018. This move showcased his willingness to adapt to different footballing cultures. He also managed Dalian Professional F.C. in the Chinese Super League in 2015-2016, demonstrating his experience navigating diverse footballing landscapes.


Mikael Stahre is known for his commitment to an attractive brand of football. He favours a possession-based approach, prioritizing ball control and building attacks from the back. His teams are typically well-organized and disciplined while emphasizing creative passing and movement in the final third.

However, Stahre’s philosophy isn’t rigid. He understands the importance of adapting his tactics based on the opposition and the specific needs of the match. While possession is central to his approach, he doesn’t shy away from utilizing counter-attacks and exploiting space when it arises.

Career Highlights

Stahre’s managerial career has seen him achieve success in various leagues. He secured promotion with Assyriska FF in Sweden and enjoyed respectable finishes with established clubs like IFK Göteborg. Notably, he led AIK Solna to the Svenska Cupen final in 2014.

His brief stint in the MLS though cut short, wasn’t without its positives. San Jose Earthquakes witnessed an uptick in their attacking performance under Stahre’s leadership. However, adapting to the physical demands of the league proved challenging, ultimately leading to his departure.

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