Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic has predicted Sahal Abdul Samad is the future of his team and the Indian football after they played a 1-1 draw against second-placed Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in the 41st match of the ongoing Hero Indian Super League on Sunday.
Greg Stewart gave a 1-0 lead to Red Miners in the 14th minute of the game as he scored a stunner from a free-kick as the ball curved a long way to find the back of the net. However, Kerala Blasters were able to equalize in the 27th minute as Sahal Abdul Samad scored for them.
Ivan Vukomanovic reckons Sahal Abdul Samad has got great potential and he has all the skills to go a long way in his career. The 24-year old midfielder has impressed with his game and he has scored a total of four goals in the eight matches he has played, three of which have come in the last four matches.
Ivan Vukomanovic said in the post-match press-conference when he was asked whether he added any tactical changes to Samad’s game, “Not only for today, because Sahal is one of the players who can make a difference. Sahal is one of the domestic Indian players who has great potential to improve even more. And since we started, I think that he’s doing a great job, he is doing an excellent job because he’s implementing the things that we want to add into his game. I think that maybe in the previous period, you know, in football, you have to be in the right spot at the right time. So we are trying to work on those things not only with Sahal but with all the other guys. Now, here’s a guy who can attack from the right side, from the left side, from the middle because he has a potential to do it. And I firmly believe that he can improve no more. I’m happy for him. I’m happy for all the fans who were supporting him. And I’m happy for all the fans now who are still supporting him because he’s a great guy, great personality and a great player. And I think that he is the future of Kerala Blasters FC and Indian football”.
The Kerala Blasters gaffer admitted that it has been a exhausting week for his team and he was happy with the end result. Earlier in the week, Kerala Blasters had defeated top teams like Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC.
He added, “You know, today’s result is just the end of one exhausting week. And we were looking towards today’s game as a kind of effort that we have to go through. We knew that it will be exhausting, we knew that it would be a tough and physical game against this Jamshedpur FC match because that’s the way they play: physical, tough game. We faced them twice in the pre-season. And actually, when you are at the end of one very hard week, like we had now, in the last seven days, the game against Mumbai City FC, the game against Chennaiyin FC, and today, we knew that it will be tough, we knew that it will be physical and we will be exhausted, and that we’ll be facing kind of small issues because it is very difficult to play against this team”.
Meanwhile, Vukomanovic decided to bring in Seityasen Singh for talisman Adrian Luna in the 61st minute. The Kerala Blasters manager revealed that he subbed Adrian Luna to manage his workload.
He concluded, “Luna was playing the last three games at high intensity. He felt the kind of issue in the second half. So we didn’t want to make it worse, we didn’t want to take a risk. So we anticipated and just took him off. Because we want to have him ready for the next game. So hopefully nothing’s wrong, nothing’s bad. He told us that he just felt a little bit. So we’ll see what the medical staff say. Hopefully he will be right for the next game”.
Kerala Blasters will next face FC Goa at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Sunday.