New Delhi: Mohun Bagan's I-League winning Spanish head coach Kibu Vicuna wants to come back to Kolkata and celebrate the title triumph properly with his players post the COVID-19 pandemic, he has said.
Mohun Bagan won the I-League with four rounds to spare. The league was later called off with matches remaining due to the pandemic which has gripped the world.
After having been stuck in Kolkata due the lockdown, Vicuna and the entire Spanish contingent drove from Kolkata to Delhi, and boarded a special flight in the wee hours of Tuesday as they flew out from New Delhi to Madrid, with a two-day stopover in Amsterdam.
"When normalcy returns, I would love to come back and celebrate with all the players, fans, club officials and members. None of us ever really got the opportunity to say our goodbyes properly. It was all over the phone. I am a person who likes to do this kind of thing face-to-face," Vicuna was quoted as saying by All India Football Federation's official website, the-aiff.com.
"I would like to thank all the fans of Mohun Bagan. We got so much love throughout the season, it's absolutely unbelievable. I feel like I am leaving a piece of my heart back in Kolkata," said Vicuna who has now been roped in as head coach by Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters.
Vicuna said it has been a year to remember for him and he now feels complete as a coach.
"It has been a fantastic year for me -- both personally and professionally. I feel I now feel complete as a coach. When we won that last match against Aizawl, we were so happy. We all celebrated with the fans. The Derby was still at the back of our minds, but we would never have thought that that would have been our last match."
Asked how he would rate the performances of the local players this season, Vicuna said: "If you look at our performances, the Indian players were extremely crucial for us. Starting from SK Sahil, (Nongdamba) Naorem, and Subha (Ghosh), they are all young talents and have done exceptionally well to rise to the occasion.
"Then you have the experienced lot -- Dhana (Dhanachandra Singh), Gurjinder (Singh), Ashu (Ashutosh Mehta), and Sankar (Roy), who's experience was crucial for our performance in the league.
"To be honest, it was difficult to select 11 players. I had players like Romario (Jesuraj), (Lalram) Chullova, or Debjit (Majumder), who are equally capable, and gave us a lot of support from the bench."
On Kerala Blasters and how he is looking forward to that task ahead, Vicuna said: "I'm really excited to join Kerala Blasters. I'm thankful to the club management who have shown the faith in me and have given me the opportunity.
"We want to build a strong team that plays attacking and attractive football. I have heard that the Kerala fans are equally as vociferous as the ones back in Mohun Bagan. With their support, we hope to get the results and earn more glories."