ISL: 5 highest Kerala Blasters goal-scorers of all-time
- The Kerala Blasters have averaged 1.15 goals per game in the ISL, only better than NorthEast United.
- The list includes a fan-favourite, a local hero and the latest skipper.
The Kerala Blasters have turned into one of the most-followed football clubs in India in a very short span. In six years of existence, the Kochi-based outfit has reached the final of the Indian Super League (ISL) on two occasions. However, the Kerala Blasters have fallen short of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
Manjappada, the Blasters faithful, has still backed the club through all the ups and downs. Each ISL goal has been celebrated with the same passion by the fans in Kochi. Having said that, it is a worrying fact that the Blasters have never been among the highest-scoring clubs in the ISL.
They have averaged 1.15 goals per game, only better than NorthEast United in ISL history. But the recently concluded edition witnessed Blasters improve their attacking prowess under the tutelage of Eelco Schattorie. The team scored 29 goals in 18 matches, the highest in any single ISL season.
In this article, we look at the five highest goal-scorers for the Kerala Blasters in ISL history.
Highest Kerala Blasters goal-scorers of all time in the ISL:
#5 Chris Dagnall - 6 goals
Chris Dagnall represented Kerala Blasters in the 2015 edition of the ISL. He was signed from Leyton Orient, a fourth-tier club in England. The striker featured in 13 matches and recorded 6 goals and 2 assists. Dagnall played as a striker, alongside Antonio German.
Even with half a dozen goals to his name, Dagnall was not able to meet expectations at the Blasters. Peter Taylor's exit midway through the season and the bottom-table finish were the prominent negatives from the Blasters' dismal year.
Subsequently, Dagnall returned home after that season, and has since plied his trade trade for clubs in Scotland and England. At present, the 34-year-old plays for English fifth-tier club Yeovil Town.
#4 Raphael Messi Bouli - 8 goals
A widely criticised signing breaking into the list in a single season is nothing less than astonishing. Messi Bouli joined Kerala Blasters from Iranian club Foolad FC prior to the 2019/20 season. By the end of the ISL campaign, he had registered 8 goals and 1 assist in 17 games.
The Cameroon international had a drab start without a goal in his first five matches. However, he broke the deadlock against FC Goa and then scored regularly, including a brace against Jamshedpur FC. Messi Bouli received plaudits for his work rate and efforts to win possession back with daring challenges.
The 28-year-old's future at Kerala Blasters is still up in the air. It remains to be seen whether newly appointed Kibu Vicuna opts for Messi Bouli or his own contingent from Mohun Bagan.
#3 Iain Hume - 10 goals
Iain Edward Hume is undoubtedly a fan-favourite among the Blasters fans. The Canadian player was part of Kerala Blasters in the 2014 and 2017/18 ISL seasons. In total, the forward has scored 10 goals in 29 matches for the Blasters.
Hume played a vital role in the Blasters' run to the ISL final in 2014. He scored 5 goals and 3 assists in 16 games that year. After a two-year spell with ATK, he returned to Kochi, and again recorded 5 goals in 13 games.
The 36-year-old was often appreciated for his tireless efforts and his 'poacher' approach inside the box. Iain Hume still stands fourth on the list of all-time ISL top-scorers, with 28 goals. He donned the Pune City jersey in the 2018/19 ISL season, but is currently without a club.
#2 CK Vineeth - 11 goals
CK Vineeth has always been a local hero in Kerala. The forward joined the Kerala Blasters on loan from Bengaluru FC in 2015. He made a permanent move in 2017, and continued till January 2019. In the process, he scored 11 goals and provided 3 assists in 42 games.
After failing to score in the first season, Vineeth came back strongly in the second edition, netting 5 goals. He scored 6 goals in the next two seasons before being loaned out to Chennaiyin FC. The 31-year-old was a clinical striker, and bailed out the side numerous times with late goals.
After the loan stint with Chennai, he moved to Jamshedpur FC and played the recently concluded edition of the league for the Red Miners. Vineeth has offers from several clubs including East Bengal, and is expected to make a move to Kolkata.
#1 Bartholomew Ogbeche - 15 goals
A single season was more than enough for Bartholomew Ogbeche to become Kerala Blasters' all-time top-scorer. The French player joined the Blasters from NorthEast United before the 2019/20 season. He quickly adapted to the changes, and scored 15 goals in 16 matches throughout the season.
Ogbeche started off with a brace in the ISL season opener against ATK. After a goalless run of 7 games, he regained form against Chennaiyin FC, in his comeback from injury. The skipper then scored regularly, including four braces and a hat-trick. The 35-year-old was spot on with penalties, converting five over the period.
He has 27 ISL goals in two seasons and is fifth on the list of all-time league top-scorers. Ogbeche is reported to have agreed on a contract extension with Kerala Blasters.