With the upcoming pre-season trip to India in the calendar for Melbourne City, it’s time to learn more about our hosts as we prepare to take on the Kerala Blasters in Kochi.
The little Master Blasters
The Kerala Blasters is a unique name for a football team but how did that name come to the biggest team in Kerala? One man, Sachin Tendulkar.
India’s most revered cricketer is a majority owner of the Club and the name is a nod to one of the best batsman to grace the cricket pitch. His nickname is ‘The Master Blaster’ and there was no better name to honour ‘The Little Master’s’ football team.
Kerala play out of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium know by locals as Kaloor Stadium. The stadium’s capacity is 60,000 however during the Indian Super League, capacity is capped at 39,000. The ground is also home to the Kerala Cricket Team and was home to the now defunct Indian Cricket Premier League side the Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
Best fans in the league
The Kerala Blasters are one of the most popular teams in the Indian Super League. The Blasters averaged 31,763 fans at their home matches in 2017/18, the most in the ISL and are definitely the loudest in the league. Their main supporter group is ‘Manjappada’ and the group is one of the best in the land, voted the ‘Best Fan Club of the Year’ award at the Indian Sports Honours. We can’t wait to see the noise they bring in July!
Three lions coach
Kerala’s Head Coach is former English international goalkeeper David James. James was the inaugural coach of the Club in 2014, playing between the sticks as well in a season that saw them lose the 2014 ISL Final.
James returned to the helm in 2018 minus his playing abilities to steady the Blasters in their 2017/18 campaign.
Kerala are yet to win an ISL Championship but have come close on two occasions in 2014 and 2016.
Their best finish was in 2016 when they finished in second during the regular season and went down to Atletico de Kolkata in an agonisingly close penalty shootout. The side finished sixth last season and despite a late surge with David James at the helm, couldn’t make finals but will look to bounce back in 2018/19.