The entry of the Kerala Blasters in the inaugural season of the Indian Super League was something of a spectacle. Of course, there were the odd teams from Kerala playing football in a few football leagues, but the Kerala Blasters came in with a bang.
They also managed to resonate with the footballing faithful of the state, something that has seen the club boast of the biggest fan-base for an Indian football club. During home games, the Blasters faithful turn out in phenomenal numbers, averaging anywhere between 40,000 to 55,000 fans per match.
With matches being played behind closed doors for the upcoming season, the Blasters will be at somewhat of a disadvantage. However, with Kibu Vicuna at the helm, the team seems to have found the balance between Indian and overseas players. From the outset, the Blasters are favorites to claim a playoffs spot at the very least for the 2020/21 season of the Indian Super League.
Also see: Kerala Blasters Fixtures
Prasad V Potluri and Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendular eventually secured the rights for a Kochi-based franchise in the Indian Super League. Sandesh Jhingan, who would go on to become a legend at the club was part of their first draft. Ishfaq Ahmed, Milagres Gonsalves, Nirmal Chhetri and a few others were among the first players drafted to the club.
David James, Michael Chopra, and Iain Hume were among the first overseas players to be recruited in the first season. Iain Hume was named the captain for the season and played alongside Michael Chopra in attack.
In the six years that the club has been in existence, the Blasters have never won the league title. They however, came close in the first season when they faced ATK in the final only to lose 1-0 with Mohammad Rafique scoring in the 95th minute of regular time.
The Blasters made it to the final yet again against ATK in 2016. This time they would lose 4-3 in a penalty shootout. However, the one trophy that is in their cabinet is a regional one with the Kerala Blasters’ reserves team securing the Kerala Premier League in the 2019-20 season.
Apart from the two times the Kerala Blasters have managed to reach the finals of the ISL, they have been well below par. The last three seasons have seen the side finish 6th, 9th, and 7th places respectively.
However, this time around, there is a possibility of the club making it to the playoffs under new coach Kibu Vicuna. The Blasters have also never managed to win the Hero Super Cup.
The 2019-20 season witnessed Bartholomew Ogbeche become the first Kerala Blasters player to take his tally of goals into double figures. Ogbeche managed 15 goals in the season and was tied for the golden boot with Roy Krishna and Nerijus Valskis. However, even this wasn’t enough to help the Blasters nail down a playoffs spot.
This season however, has witnessed Kibu Vicuna choose players based on the requirements of the team. With Ogbeche moving on to Mumbai City FC and Sandesh Jhingan signing for ATK Mohun Bagan, Vicuna has been busy with recruitment.
The upcoming season will witness the likes of Costa Nhamoinesu, Bakary Kone, and Gary Hooper play an important part along with Sahal Abdul Samad, Nishu Kumar, and Albino Gomes. Costa Nhamoinesu, Jessel Carneiro, and Sergio Cidoncha have been named as captains for the season with Vicuna expected to name another in the course of the season
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