Eelco Schattorie appointed as new Kerala Blasters head coach
Kerala Blasters FC have confirmed the appointment of Eelco Schattorie as the new head coach of the club. The Dutchman, who was in charge of NorthEast United FC during Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19, has been handed the charge of the Kochi-based club for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
The UEFA Pro License holder boasts over two decades of coaching experience, the majority of which he spent in the Middle East. The 47-year-old's first tryst with Indian football came about when he took charge of Prayag United back in 2012. The enigmatic Dutchman would go onto win the IFA Shield and guided the team to a fourth-placed finish in the Hero I-League. Schattorie then served as the head coach for Kolkata giants East Bengal for the 2015 season.
After serving in NorthEast's managerial setup for parts of the 2016-17 season under Avram Grant, Schattorie took over the reins of the club for the Hero ISL 2018-19 and guided the team to the semi-finals, which also happens to be the Highlanders' best-ever campaign in the club's history.
Despite being hit by injuries to key players and operating with limited personnel, Schattorie showcased impeccable tactical calibre to drive the team into the top four, before losing out to eventual champions Bengaluru FC in the semis. Schattorie will replace Nelo Vingada, who was appointed the Kerala Blasters head coach back in January 2019.
“It is an honour to start leading this club back to glory. A club with the biggest fan base in Hero ISL should be entertained with a winning team. That’s what we are going to try and accomplish with passion, teamwork and dedication at all levels. Let the journey start soon,” the Dutchman said after his appointment.
One of Eelco’s biggest achievements during his 12 year stay at VVV Venlo, his 1st club, was to successfully bring in a lot of talent from the youth academy to the first team. According to the club statement, youth development is very much in line with the vision of Kerala Blasters. “Kerala has a pool of young players in their backyard and hopefully we can start building players into the senior team with a Kerala heart,” said Eelco.