ISL 2018: Kerala Blasters sign Slovenian goal-machine Matej Poplatnik
What’s the story?
Kerala Blaster FC’s revamped attitude for the upcoming ISL season got validated again as the Kochi-based franchise finalised on the signing of the prolific Slovenian striker- Matej Poplatnik.
The confirmation makes Matej their sixth foreign player as David James, the gaffer, looks all set to bolster his attacking line up after a rather dismal last season. Thus Matej is set to become the only second Slovenian to ever grace the Indian Super League after Rene Mihelic who was a part of Chennaiyin FC last season.
In case you didn’t know..
Kerala Blasters have had a miserable season in the in the 2017/18 campaign, finishing sixth in the league even after being preseason favourites. This was in stark contrast to the 2016 or the 2014 seasons, when the Kochi-based outfit failed in the finals.
However, this time around David James vows to turn back the things, as he completes his third signing of the summer in form of Matej Poplantik. The Slovenian’s arrival will be a big boost for the blasters before their much-hyped pre-season friendlies with Girona FC and Melbourne City FC.
The heart of the story...
Matej Poplantik has been under KBFC's radar for a quite some time. The Blasters, as promised, have left no stones unturned to bolster their attacking front as they had already signed Serbian striker Slavisa Stojanovic and the addition of Matej will act, as huge catalyst for the side- which didn’t see the face of goal much, in the last season.
Matej Poplatnik has had a fantastic season serving a relegation-threatened Kranjski Triglav. He scored a whopping 16 goals in the premier division of Slovenia and finished as third highest in league's top scorer chart. The 25-year-old forward has also donned the national jersey once while making his debut against U21 Portugal in an away fixture.
Matej has spent most of his career in his Slovenia except for a half-season cameo in Montana, a Bulgarian top division club, in 2015. Poplatnik boasts of a nice career goal-game ratio, having scored 75 goals in 158 appearances in top-tier Slovenia and Bulgarian competitions. The Slovenian forward who can fare as an absolute menace, even from the right wing has been offered a long-term contract as per reports.
Matej Poplatnik becomes the sixth foreigner to join Slavisa Stojanovic, Cyril Kali, Nemanja Lakic-Pesic, Keziron Kizito and Courage Pekuson.
Gaffer David James, who is looking to gift the club it’s first coveted glory, has managed to fill the holes left by the departure of Iain Hume and Gudjon Baldvinnson by the signings of two foreign strikers in Stojanovic and Poplatnik.
Blasters have already secured the services of Indian players such as Anas Edathodika, Abdul Hakku, Seimenlen Doungel and Halicharan Narzary and with a new look attack line, the Yellow Army surely ranks as one of the sides to watch out in the upcoming season.
Do you think that the new signings can help Kerala Blasters win their first ISL title? Let us know in the comments section.