ISL 2018: 3 key Indian players for Kerala Blasters
The football festival in India is all set to roll again in under a month and the preparations are gaining the heat. The fifth edition of Indian Super League will begin on 29th of September with ATK facing Kerala Blasters. A number of spotting and surprising transfers have already taken place and the fans are eager to know their new heroes. Almost all the teams have commenced their pre-season and the 'work behind-the-scenes' are still continuing.
Kerala Blasters have always remained a fan favourite and it is not a shocker if the fans expect them for a run to the finals. Here, we pick 3 Indian players representing the yellow squad, who will be vital in meeting the team expectations.
A captain leading from the front should never miss out from this list. Without any room for doubt, Sandesh Jhingan will be the man who will be in the spotlight when the new season kicks off for Blasters. The 25-year old, who has represented the team in 58 matches will have to be at his peak performance to get his hands on the cup. Jhingan would not have been satisfied with the 2017/18 season, having to end the season with just 50 tackles and a 6th position finish. But the trust David James has shown in him for yet another season will be a boost for the captain and can be a hurdle for the opposite strikers.
2. C K Vineeth
The local boy will be the man-at-front for the team when the game begins at the field. Vineeth's boots are expected to produce the Kerala team a number of goals and opportunities finding a spot in the squad for the 4th consecutive season. CK, who hit the net 4 times from his 14 appearances last season will have to give a finer performance this time. With the absence of Iain Hume at the front, he will be assigned greater responsibilities of finishing the attacks. The former Bengaluru FC forward has scored for Blasters 9 times, with a conversion rate of 18% which the team wishes he improves.
3. Anas Edathodika
Anas Edathodika is the new local addition at the back of the team. The 31-year old Kerala centre-back is coming home after representing Delhi Dynamos and Jamshedpur FC in the previous seasons. Anas alongside Sandesh Jhingan forms one of the most compact defence lineups in the league and will be a stress reliever for James. When Lalruatthara too picks his spot, the opponents will find a hard time reaching the Blasters goal face. But the question still remains on how Anas adapts with his new defence line, but his experience with Sandesh in the national squad is sure to be a benefit. Once a favourite of Roberto Carlos at Delhi Dynamos, he was offered limited opportunities when shifted to the Jamshedpur club. From his 8 matches in the 2017/18 season, he completed 20 tackles and 24 clearances. His 3-season ISL experience of 33 appearances with 242 clearances will certainly fix the leaks Blasters had at their back in the previous seasons.