India is set to host its first ever pre-season international friendlies tournament, Toyota Yaris LaLiga World, in Kochi with Australian A-League side Melbourne City, LaLiga giant killers Girona FC and hosts Kerala Blasters fighting it out to be named the first ever winner of such an event in India.
The side from the most southern state of India had a very poor Indian Super Cup as they lost against I-League runners-up NEROCA FC in their first match while also having a very disappointing ISL 2017/18 season which saw them finish 6th in the league after the huge fanfare.
Manager David James has finally got his UEFA A-Licence and has started his preparation for the upcoming season by bolstering his team with host a new talent while trying to keep the identity of the team in Yellow. James has added 19 new faces to the squad with the likes of Indian National team Centre-back Anas Edathodika, Santhosh Trophy player of the tournament Jithin MS and former Indian U17 shot stopper Dheeraj Singh joining the Blasters along with Cyril Kali, Slavisa Stojanovic and Matej Poplatnik drafted in as the foreign recruits.
The Blasters will be hoping to see the Ugandan Keziron Kizito take up the field once again after a shoulder injury cut short his wonderful start for the Blasters. Kizito will be looking to revive the on-field chemistry with the Ghanian Courage Pekuson that saw them playing wonderful bits of football in a rather dull season for the team from the south.
Indian National team Centre-back pairing of Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodika are expected to shut out the goals with the former AJ Auxerre youth product Cyril Kali and Nemanja Lakic-Pesic providing ample backup to the duo while Serbian Slavisa Stojanovic will be looking to lead the line along with Slovenian Matej Poplatnik and local favourite CK Vineeth banking upon themselves to score much-needed goals for the team in yellow.
Kerala Blasters Team News
All the 31 players in the squad are expected to be fit and ready for action
Kerala Blasters Squad for Toyota Yaris LaLiga World
Goalkeepers: Naveen Kumar, Dheeraj Singh, Sujith Sasikumar
Defenders: Nemanja Lakic Pesic, Cyril Kali, Lalruathara, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Abdul Hakku, Pritamkumar Singh, Lalthakima, Mohamad Rakip, Jishnu Balakrishnan
Midfielders: Courage Pekuson, Keziron Kizito, Zakeer Mundampara, Sahal Abdul Samad, Deependra Singh Negi, Suraj Rawat, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Halicharan Narzary, Moirangthem Loken Meitei, Hrishidath Sasikumar, Pragyan Sundar Gogoi
Forwards: Vineeth CK, Slavisa Stojanovic, Matej Poplatnik, Seiminlen Doungel, Shaiborlang Kharpan, Afdal VK, Jithin MS
Kerala Blasters Possible XI: Dheeraj Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Cyril Kali, Lalruathara, Pritam Singh, Kizito Keiron, Courage Pekuson, CK Vineeth, Slavisa Stojanovic, Matej PoplatnikPublished 23 Jul 2018, 17:48 IST