Can Schattorie and Ogbeche guide Kerala Blasters to glory?
Kerala Blasters announced the acquisition of NorthEast United FC head coach Eelco Schattorie, and their captain and star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche in quick succession this week. After a disappointing end to the 2018-19 campaign that saw the Blasters finish second last, a change at the helm and a source for consistent goals could see the Manjappada-backed side finally get their hands on the prestigious trophy.
A big reason for their poor campaign was their lack of goals. Kerala ended the campaign scoring an average of a goal a game. Their top scorers were Slavisa Stojanovic and Matej Poplatnic both getting a paltry four goals. David James couldn’t really inspire the team to put in performances on the level demanded by the fans and was promptly sacked after a run of 11 winless matches. Portuguese Nilo Vingada was appointed as his replacement but the appointment didn’t have the desired outcome.
Ogbeche will be walking through the doors in red hot form as he bagged 12 goals and 2 assists and led the Highlanders to their first qualification to the knockout phase. Only Ferran Corominas managed to outscore the diminutive Frenchman.
Coming in with tons of experience having played in France, England, Spain, Netherlands, Greece and UAE before landing on Indian shores, Ogbeche is expected to lead the Blasters’ line come October. A physically imposing striker with a keen eye for goal, Kerala can expect him to light up the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium soon.
The combination of Schattorie and Ogbeche guided Northeast to their first playoff finish in club history and would be a big boost for Kerala as they look to finally lift the prestigious Hero Indian Super League trophy.