KOCHI: It’s deja vu all over again. Kerala Blasters is in the same situation that they were in 2015. In the wake of a disastrous start to Indian Super League’s new season, Blasters’ head coach Rene Meulensteen was ‘relieved from duty’ on Tuesday, bringing back memories of the exit of the Peter Taylor two years ago after the Kochi side gave a string of poor results.
A former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, Meulensteen had been involved in three Premier League title wins and a Champions League triumph. But at Blasters, he couldn’t inspire the team that ended up runners-up in the previous season. After seven matches, Blasters are eighth in the table that features 10 teams and have managed to notch just one win.
The awful start to the season had kept Meulensteen’s position under threat but his resignation was a bit surprising since the team was bracing up for their next home tie against Pune City FC on Thursday.
“I’d like to thank the management, staffs, players and fans for this experience and wish them well for the future,” the coach was quoted in an official Blasters’ handout. Going by the conventions, the club’s CEO Varun Tripuraneni thanked “Rene for all the hard work in his time at the club”.
Contrary to the club officials’ words, sources said the management had been pondering replacing the coach for quite some time and the defeat at the hands of Bengaluru FC was just a precipitant. It’s understood that the club will announce a replacement on Wednesday or Thursday and it’s this swiftness in which they have been able to locate a new taskmaster that reinforces doubts that the mutually agreed parting of ways had been in the pipeline for quite some time.
“There was a team meeting that started Tuesday morning. The CEO, as well as other stakeholders, were present in that and it was there that Meulensteen announced his intentions. The new coach will be announced pretty soon,” sources revealed. However, the fate of the supporting staffs is still uncertain though club sources said “they didn’t think any other person will move away”.
Blasters’ lone win came against NorthEast United, while they failed to capitalise in four other home ties. The performance of their overseas signings had also come under the scanner. Dimitar Berbatov had missed three matches due to injury while Wes Brown, who came back after injury, has struggled to impress.