One cannot deny the fact that KERALA BLASTERS looked like one of the strongest sides of this ISL when the signings were announced. The Management and our CEO Varun Tripuraneni managed to surprise the fans by retaining the fan favorites Sandesh Jhingan and CK Vineeth. They also were able to pull off some amazing signings with the likes of Courage Pekuson and Nemanja Lakic Pesic being the young and energetic ones and Manchester United legends Dimitar Berbatov and Wes brown adding up as some experienced players. The job definitely looked half done.
But how the season started for the team with the best fans in India was unforeseen. Our first GOAL of the season came in our 3rd match and the first WIN came later in our 5th match against North East United FC. Things didn’t look good and we didn’t find ourselves anytime in the TOP 4. One thing that haunted the team throughout the season was the injuries. Key players like Dimitar Berbatov, Arata Izumi, Keziron Kizito and Rino Anto were always between injuries. This was one of the main reasons why the midfield has been the Achilles heel for our team this season.
We ended the year 2017 with a 1-3 defeat against Bengaluru FC in our home ground. After which we had to part ways with our Head Coach Rene Meulesteen. This news made most of the fans feel dejected and pessimistic. However, our management had different plans. They brought back our first season’s gaffer David James to take over a team that was almost drowning. His bond with Kerala Blasters has started from the first season and he knew how much the fans wanted a comeback. James didn’t disappoint as he started off really well and has managed to win 3 matches and draw 1 from 6 games. Kerala Blasters also signed Gudjon Baldvinnson as a replacement for Mark Sifneos who left Kerala Blasters and later joined FC GOA. The management also signed some young local lads like Deependra Negi, Hrishidath, Suraj Rawat and Mohammad Rakip. Clearly showing that Kerala Blasters haven’t given up and will fight until the end. Deependra Negi played his debut match against Delhi Dynamos and scored 1 goal and also won the penalty which was converted by Iain Hume. He won the Hero of the match for his wonderful performance. Gudjon Baldvinsson played just 37 minutes but again has impressed the fans and looked very comfortable with the team.
So, the very important question. Will we make it to the playoffs ??
Like the heading says ” BROKEN CRAYONS STILL COLOR “. We might be down but we are still not out. Kerala Blasters should win all the 5 remaining matches in order to make sure they qualify. But, is that enough?? Well, we all know that there are many factors in this format which decides the playoff. The results of other matches will also play a major role in deciding if we can go through. Similarly, goal difference might also come in. So all we can do is expect our team to perform well and bag 15 points from the remaining matches and also hope that the teams in the bottom make some upset when they play against the teams in the Top 4.
So let’s all stay positive and believe that our team can do it. After all, we are MANJAPPADA!