CSKA II’s 0-0 draw away at Blaby Wanderers was to be the final match for Jay Karsandas, who officially announced that he would step down from his role of co-manager of CSKA II.
It was a tough decision for Karsandas, who has been at CSKA from day one, having played in the club’s first ever match back in 2008. But with relocation from Leicester on the cards, he will pass the baton on to someone who will have more time to work with CSKA II for the upcoming 2021/22 season.
“When Chris said he’s setting up a team and to come for the first trial session, who would have thought I would still be there after 13 years?” Karsandas told CSKACarnabys.com. “It has been such a pleasure playing with all the lads over the years. It is a well organised club, always get a fancy kit and I’ve had some memorable moments over the years.”
In those 13 years Karsandas has enjoyed a success that has seen him amass 191 appearances for both CSKA sides. In that time he has scored 62 times, made 45 assists and won Man of the Match on 10 occasions.
He leaves the club decorated with honours too: his first the 2008/09 Most Improved Award, then the 2012/13 Golden Boot, the CSKA Clubman Award in 2017/18 and then the CSKA Manager of the Year Award in 2018/19. A particular highlight saw Karsandas captain CSKA during the 2011/12 campaign which saw them narrowly miss out on the Stokes Cup Final after two injury-time goals from St Marks in a dramatic day in North Kilworth.
Karsandas still sits 5th in the overall appearances for CSKA Carnabys First Team, despite not having played since the end of 2015/16. A heartbreaking injury incurred at the start of the 2016/17 season would see Karsandas ruled out for over three years. But it’s a credit to thehis character that he showed up almost every week during his injury to support his teammates, and this commitment was well recognised as club Chairman Chris McCafferty appointed him CSKA II Manager in the summer of 2018. Karsandas, alongside Steve Maggs, immediately reshaped the reserve side and led them to a 6th place finish after picking up 9 wins in 18 league games, making it their most successful season.
Talking about his time at the club Karsandas said: “Not only did I become a better player playing with alongside the quality we have had, getting the chance to manage the second team after not being able to play myself was a great way to top it all off.”
Fans and teammates were delighted to see Karsandas return to action in 2020, where he would go on to make 13 more appearances and bag 2 goals.
Chairman Chris McCafferty commented: “It’s a very sad day for the club hearing that Jay will be leaving. Both as a player and as a manager, he’s been absolutely terrific. Always with a positive mindset, and always encouraging either on the pitch or on the touchline. There were times in his career when he was unplayable, and the injury was a terrible thing to happen and I was absolutely gutted for him at the time, and still am, thinking of all those years of game time in his early 30s he missed out on.”
“I’d like to thank him for all the years he has given to the club, and for getting on the end of many of my overhit corners at the back post to make it look like it was planned!”
While officially he has left the club, Karsandas has not completely walked away just yet. “I’m sure the lads will carry on and do great but I will still be here as back up… if the gaffer picks me to play of course!” It’s never say never as Karsandas will remain signed on for the 2021/22 season should there be any delays to his move from Leicester.
“On a final note, I got to keep my number 14 shirt from my first game to my last!” While the club may not be able to retire the shirt, one thing is for certain: Jay Karsandas has firmly cemented his place in CSKA legend.