After having watched Kerala Blasters' Indian Super League (ISL) games, Kibu Vicuna has arrived at the conclusion that Kerala-born midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad is one of the best Indian players he has watched.
The 23-year-old Kerala-born footballer is a fan favourite of the Kochi crowd but could not nail down a place in the starting lineup last season under Eelco Schattorie. Kerala Blasters failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive season and as a result, Vicuna was roped in to replace the Dutchman.
Speaking on an Instagram live chat to Indian Super League, Vicuna said, "I am impressed with Sahal, he is a fantastic player. He is one of the best Indian players I have seen. I love these kinds of players. I think we have to create a good environment around him because I think he could be a very good player. He could be even better."
In response to a question about finding the right balance between experience and youth in the squad, Vicuna showered praise on wingers Rahul KP and Nongdamba Naorem and midfielder Jeakson Singh who are all set to feature under his leadership next season.
"We already have young players like Jeakson Singh, Naorem, Rahul, Sahal whom I expect will be important players in the team. Also, we have (Bartholomew) Ogbeche, Sandesh (Jhingan), players with more experience. It is important to have a good mix," he said.
He further added, "Jeakson had good games as a defensive midfielder. Rahul is a very good player. I remember Rahul gave an assist for Arrows against Bagan and I had inquired if it was possible to sign Rahul. He is really quick and can play in different positions.
"Most of my players at Bagan are at the level to play in the ISL. Naorem was fantastic, I have full confidence in him. He improved a lot last season, he has a lot of potential. "