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Kerala Blasters FC C

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Kerala Blasters FC
150px
Full nameKerala Blasters Football Club
Nickname(s)Manjappada (Yellow Army)
The Tuskers
Short nameKBFC, KER
Founded24 May 2014; 7 years ago (2014-05-24)
GroundJawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi, Kerala
Capacity80,000 (Limited To 41,000 by FIFA from 2017)
OwnersManjappada
ChairmanNikhil Bhardwaj
Head coachKibu Vicuña
LeagueIndian Super League
WebsiteClub website
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season

Kerala Blasters Football Club (Malayalam pronunciation: [keːɾaɭa blaːsṯṯeːsə] (About this soundlisten)), commonly referred to as The Blasters, is an Indian professional football club based in Kochi, Kerala, that competes in the Indian Super League, the top tier of football in India. The club was established in May 2014 during the inaugural season of the Indian Super League.

The club played their inaugural match on 13 October 2014, losing 1–0 to NorthEast United. They are the two time runners up of the Indian Super League; first in 2014, where they lost 1–0 to ATK in the final after an injury time goal from them and in 2016, when they were again defeated 4–3 by ATK, this time through penalties in the final.

The Blasters are one of the most widely supported clubs in Asia and has one of the largest social media following among the football clubs from the continent. The club is also known for their fan base, including the supporters' group Manjappada, which has gained a reputational for being one of the most vocal and passionate fan clubs in India. The club plays home games at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. In most of the seasons since the club's founding, Kerala Blasters have held the record for the highest league attendance, regularly attracting audiences of over 40,000 per game. The Blasters shares rivalry with fellow South Indian neighbours Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC, with whom they contest in the South Indian Derby. The club's traditional kit consist of yellow and blue colour scheme, with yellow being the primary colours ever since its inception.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

Sachin Tendulkar, one of the first co-owners of the club

In early 2014, the All India Football Federation—the governing body of association football in India, announced they would accept bids for the ownership of eight franchises from selected cities for the inaugural season of Indian Super League (ISL).[1] On 13 April 2014, it was announced the rights to the Kochi franchise had been won by former India national cricket team captain Sachin Tendulkar and entrepreneur Prasad V Potluri.[2] On 27 May 2014, the club's official name, Kerala Blasters FC, was announced;[3] it is because the club represents not only Kochi, but the whole Kerala’s passion towards football. The name Blasters was based on the nickname of Tendulkar, who was known as Master Blaster during his playing days.[4]

Preparations for the first season started on 22 July when the Kerala Blasters took part in the first domestic draft to select fourteen Indian players.[5] Indian international Mehtab Hossain was the first choice made by the club.[6] The management also selected Avinabo Bag, Sandip Nandy, Chinadorai Sabeeth, Luis Barreto, Milagres Gonsalves, Ramandeep Singh, Renedy Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Ishfaq Ahmed, Gurwinder Singh, Nirmal Chettri, Sushanth Mathew, and Godwin Franco for their inaugural season.[7] As a mandatory rule, ISL clubs had to sign one internationally reputed player as a marquee signing. On 13 August 2014, former England international goalkeeper David James was chosen as the first head coach and marquee player of the team.[8] On 21 August 2014, the club participated in the international draft; the management selected seven foreign players for the team.[9] Michael Chopra, Iain Hume, Pulga, Erwin Spitzner, Pedro Gusmão, Cedric Hengbart and Raphaël Romey were the seven foreign players drafted to Kerala Blasters.[10] Along with them, the club directly signed Penn Orji, Jamie McAllister, Andrew Barisic, Stephen Pearson and Colin Falvey in the remaining foreign players slots.[11]

Inaugural season[edit]

David James in England jersey
David James was the first manager and marquee player of the club

Kerala Blasters played their first game on 13 October 2014 against NorthEast United at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium; they lost the game 1–0 after Koke scored in the 45th minute.[12] On 21 October, the club's first-ever goal was scored by Iain Hume during their second match, which was against Chennaiyin. Despite Hume's goal, the Blasters lost the game 2–1.[13] The Blasters first win came in their fourth game, which was played against Pune City; Chinadorai Sabeeth and Penn Orji scored the club's goals, leading to a 2–1 victory.[14] After playing their first five matches away from home, Kerala Blasters hosted their first home match on 6 November 2014 against Goa. A goal by Milagres Gonsalves led to a 1–0 victory in front of 49,517 fans at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Kochi).[15] The Blasters qualified for the playoffs on 9 December 2014 with a 1–0 victory over Pune City.[16]

After finishing in fourth place during the regular season, the side played their first semi-finals match on 13 December 2014 against Chennaiyin. Despite not being considered the favourite to win the two-legged tie, they won the first leg at home 3–0 with goals from Ishfaq Ahmed, Iain Hume, and Sushanth Mathew.[17] During the second leg in Chennai, the Blasters were about to suffer a massive setback. Despite entering the second leg with a three-goal advantage, Chennaiyin drew the tie level by winning in regular time 3–0. In extra time, however, Stephen Pearson scored the decisive goal in the 117th minute to win the tie 4–3 to enter the final.[18]

Soccer Field Transparant.svg

James
Jhingan
Falvey
N Chettri
S Dey
M Hossain
Pulga
Ahmed
Pearson
Chopra
Hume (C)
2014 Indian Super League Final starting lineup[19]

In the final, Kerala Blasters played ATK at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai. Hume should have given Blasters the lead after 55 minutes, but he took too long alone in front of the goalkeeper, allowing the defenders to eventually block his shot. The match was destined to go to extra time until ATK were given a corner kick in the last minute, and headed the ball at the near post. As a result, the Blasters lost the match 1–0 despite dominating it throughout the 90 minutes.[20]

2015 season[edit]

After the 2014 season, the club announced David James would not return to the club as the head coach and marquee player, and on 12 May 2015, it was confirmed that former England Under-20 head coach Peter Taylor would take over the manager role at the club.[21] New signings for the season included Peter Ramage, Stephen Bywater, Bruno Perone, Sanchez Watt, João Coimbra, Josu, Mohammed Rafi and Carlos Marchena as the marquee signing.[22]

The first match of the season was played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium against NorthEast United where the Blasters won 3–1 with goals from Josu, Mohammed Rafi, and Sanchez Watt.[23] They drew their next match against Mumbai City and then lost their next four matches, which led to the dismissal of Peter Taylor as head coach.[24] Assistant coach Trevor Morgan was in charge for one match before Terry Phelan was named as the head coach for the rest of the season.[25] The Blasters ended their second season in the last place of the league table.[26]

2016 season[edit]

Steve Cappell celebrating
Steve Coppell led the Blasters into the 2016 ISL finals.

In an effort to rebuild the team after failing to qualify for the semi-finals in the previous season, the Blasters announced the signing of former Crystal Palace manager Steve Coppell as their head coach on 21 June 2016.[27] A week later, the club announced the signing of Northern Ireland international Aaron Hughes as their marquee player for the season.[28] Other signings for the season included Graham Stack, Kervens Belfort, Duckens Nazon, and Mohammed Rafique along with the return of former players Michael Chopra and Cédric Hengbart.[29]

The season began with a 1–0 defeat away from home against NorthEast United.[30] The Blasters struggled early in the season, as they failed to score goals.[31] After the return of C.K. Vineeth from his loan-spell with Bengaluru FC, Blasters solved their goal-scoring issue. He scored four goals from his first five matches which includes a winner against FC Goa and a brace over Chennaiyin FC. In order to qualify for semi-final, Blasters needed to avoid a defeat against North East United FC.[32] Vineeth's only goal in the 66th minute helped Blasters to beat North East United 1-0 to seal the second place behind Mumbai City FC in the league table.[33]

Soccer Field Transparant.svg

Stack
Hughes (C)
Hengbart
Jhingan
Ahmed
Hossain
Mahamat
Vineeth
Belfort
Rafi
Nazon
2016 Indian Super League Final starting lineup[34]

After finishing in second place during the regular season, the Blasters played third-placed Delhi Dynamos in the first leg of the semi-finals,[35] which took place in Kochi. The Blasters won the match 1–0 through Kervens Belfort's 65th-minute goal.[36] During the second leg in Delhi, the Dynamos won in extra time 2–1, which meant the scores became tie on aggregate and the match went to penalty shootout where the Blasters won it 3–0 to enter the final.[37] In the final, the Blasters played host to ATK and got the lead early through Mohammed Rafi before ATK equalized soon after and the match went into a penalty shootout. Despite taking the lead early in the shootout, the Blasters lost 4–3; it was their second finals defeat in three seasons.[38]

2017–18 season[edit]

After losing in the previous season's finals, Steve Coppell rejected a new contract extension so the club appointed former Manchester United assistant manager René Meulensteen as their new manager.[39] Blasters released all of their foreign players and signed some more, including former Manchester United players Dimitar Berbatov and Wes Brown.[40][41] Sandesh Jhingan was appointed as the captain and the club re-signed their leading goalscorer from the first season Iain Hume.[42] The Blasters won only one of their first eight games that season, leading to the sacking of Meulensteen.[43] Fan-favourite manager David James returned to the squad as caretaker.[44] The Blasters won five of the remaining ten matches and finished sixth in the 2017-18 Indian Super League season. They were eliminated in the first round of the Super Cup.[45]

2018–19 season[edit]

Having failed to qualify for the previous season's semi-finals, the Blasters signed a three-year deal with manager David James. With a new roster, Kerala Blasters had their worst season ever, won only one and drawn six of their twelve fixtures, leading to the sacking of James.[46] After the international mid-season break, the Blasters appointed Nelo Vingada as their new manager for the remaining six matches.[47] Of the remaining games, the team had only one win and three draws, and finished ninth in the league.[48] They were eliminated from the Super Cup in the qualifying round of the tournament.[49]

2019–20 season[edit]

After a disappointing season, the Blasters appointed Eelco Schattorie as their new manager.[50] The club released all of their foreign players and signed a new roster that included Cameroon-born Raphaël Messi Bouli and former Nigeria international Bartholomew Ogbeche as forwards.[51] Blasters beat their arch-rivals ATK on the season's first day. Throughout the season, the team was hit by injury concerns. Defender Sandesh Jhingan, who captained the club for the last two seasons, was out of action with an ACL injury and newly signed Brazilian defender Jairo Rodrigues was also injured.[52] Both defenders missed the entire season and Rodrigues played a few matches in the start.[53] Gianni Zuiverloon and Mario Arqués and other players were also hit by minor injuries in the season; they missed some of the crucial fixtures.[54] The Blasters finished the season in seventh place in the table.[55]

2020–21 season[edit]

From the 2020-21 season onwards, the management decided to build a new strategy at the club.[56] As a part of this, the Blasters appointed Karolis Skinkys as their new sporting director on 15 March 2020.[57] On 22 April 2020, the club officially announced the appointment of Kibu Vicuña as their new manager.[58] Fan-favourite defender Sandesh Jhingan left the club on 21 May 2020 by mutual consent, ending his six-year association with the Blasters[59] along with CEO Viren D'Silva who also left the club the same day itself.[60]

As a part of their new philosophy, the Blasters decided to rely more upon young Indian players and extended the contracts of Sahal and Rahul KP until 2025.[61][62] They signed Nishu Kumar on a four-year deal from Bengaluru FC.[63] Givson Singh, who performed well for the Indian Arrows the previous season was signed on a three-year deal.[64] Puitea, Rohit Kumar, Ritwik Das, and Prabhsukhan Gill were the other major signings for the season.[65][66] While developing a squad of young players, the club also extended the contract of senior player Jessel Carneiro till 2023.[67] The Blasters only extended the contract of Sergio Cido among the foreign players and signed a new roster of them under the supervision of the new sporting director. Facundo Pereyra, Costa Nhamoinesu, and Bakary Koné were signed for a one-year deal while Vicente Gómez was signed for a three-year deal.[68] They fulfilled the AFC player quota by signing Jordan Murray.[69]

Crest, colours and kits[edit]

The crest and colours for Kerala Blasters were announced at the club's official launch on 15 September 2014.[70]

Crest[edit]

The club's crest is designed around the elephant, one of Kerala's main symbols, to reflect its place in Kerala's culture and festivities, and to represent the state's sporting legacy.[71] The elephant holds a football with its trunk, denoting the state’s deep connection with the sport. The elephant is a symbol of unity, power, and pride; it also symbolises the heritage, culture, spirit, and passion of Kerala, and its love for football.[70]

Colours[edit]

Official T shirt
The club's home shirts during the 2016 season

Since its inception, the club colours have been yellow and blue. According to former co-owner Sachin Tendulkar, yellow stands for determination and faith.[72] During their inaugural season, the club wore yellow shirts and blue shorts and this was used until the 2016 season. For the 2017–18 season, the Blasters introduced an all-yellow kit with a different shade of yellow.[73] Here the blue remained as the secondary colour that flows across the side of the shirt.[74] This kit was used for the 2018–19 season, after which the team returned to its traditional yellow and blue kit with the same shades as the previous season.[75] In 2020, a new jersey in the club’s customary yellow and blue colours was launched, with this time, the blue coming in the arms. The kit which pays homage to the state of Kerala also had horizontal lines that run along the breadth of the jersey.[76]

The club's away colours for the first three seasons were yellow shirts and white shorts. For the 2017–18 season, the club introduced the all-black jersey with yellow stripe on the bottom of arms and shorts and this was used until the 2019–20 season.[77] In 2020, the Blasters launched a new blue away kit with a distinctive pattern.[78] This kit was launched by the club as a dedication to their fans who will be missed at the stands due to COVID-19 pandemic.[79]

In 2020, the Blasters launched a contest for the fans to design the club's first ever third kit for the 2020–21 season.[80] The third kit which had a white and gold colour scheme, designed by one of the fan was released by the club as an honour to the sacrifices and contribution of the frontline workers, who have been relentlessly working to win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.[81]

Kit evolution[edit]

2014
2015-2016
2017-2019
2019-2020

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt Prime Sponsor
2014–2016 Puma Muthoot Group
2016–2017 Bay Creations
2017–2018 Admiral
2018–2019 SIX5SIX
2019–2020 Reyaur Sports
2020–present BYJU'S

On 29 September 2014, it was announced Kerala-based Muthoot Pappachan Group would be the title sponsor for the Kerala Blasters.[82] Under the original agreement, the company would sponsor the Blasters for one season with the option to extend the sponsorship.[82] On 24 October that year, a month later, the Blasters announced the German sports manufacturer Puma would be the kit sponsors for the 2014 season.[83] Both sponsorships continued in 2015 and Muthoot remained as title sponsor into the 2016 season.[84] In June 2019, the Blasters signed a five-year deal with Jain University to be the presenting sponsor of the club.[85] In September 2020, the club signed a long-term deal with Statsports as their performance partner.[86] On 7 November 2020, the Blasters announced its association with BYJU’S, the world’s largest EdTech company, as their new title sponsor on a five-year deal.[87]

Stadium[edit]

The stadium before a game.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi

Kerala Blasters play their home matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Ernakulam district of Kochi.[88] The stadium is multipurpose but is mostly used for football. It has hosted games of both the Indian national football and cricket teams, and has hosted National Football League and I-League clubs FC Kochin and Chirag United Club Kerala.[89][90] The stadium was also a venue for the Indian Premier League side Kochi Tuskers Kerala and was selected as a venue for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.[91] As a part of the FIFA event, the stadium was renovated and new seats were fitted and its capacity was reduced to 50,000 and later to 41,000, taking into account security issues.[92] The stadium received the Best Pitch of the Season Award from FSDL during the 2018-19 season of Indian Super League.[93] In 2019, Greater Cochin Development Authority proposed the installation of solar panels in the stadium, which would make it the first such venue in Kerala and the third in the country to be powered by solar energy.[94]

Support[edit]

Fans at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium during an Indian Super League match

The Kerala Blasters are known in the ISL for their fanatical supporters.[95][96] Averaging over 55,000 fans a game, the Blasters had the highest average attendance in most of the seasons they have played[97][98] and it fell to 37,500 in 2017 because safety regulations reduced the stadium's capacity to 41,000 as a part of 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup where Kochi was a venue.[99] According to former India international player Pappachen Pradeep, "In Kerala, the people support football tirelessly. It doesn't matter if the team wins or loses, they are always there in high numbers. I've played at places like Kolkata, where if the team loses two-three matches on the spin, the numbers in the stadium diminish. There is nothing like that in Kerala."[100] However Kerala Blasters have seen reduction in the average attendance below 30,000 on two seasons. During 2018–19 season, the Blasters had an average attendance of 16,432 and it became 17,500 in 2019–20 season.[101][102] According to Fox Asia, as of October 2020, the Blasters are the fifth most-popular Asian club on social media, becoming so in 2018 within the four years of its existence and were the youngest club among the list.[103][104][105]

The Blasters are also known for having one of the most vocal and passionate supporters group known as Manjappada.[106] Founded in 2014, they are one of the largest and most active supporters group in the country.[107] The group has also won the award for the 'Best Fan Club' at the Indian Sports Honours for two times in 2017 and 2020.[108]

Rivalries[edit]

South Indian Derby[edit]

The club's main rivals are their South Indian neighbours, Chennaiyin FC[109] and Bengaluru FC.[110]

Chennaiyin FC[edit]

Kerala Blasters have developed a rivalry with fellow southern club Chennaiyin FC from the inaugural season of the Indian Super League itself. Former Chennaiyin head coach Marco Materazzi was sent off when the clubs played each other in the 2014 final[111] and was then given a one-match suspension in 2016 after he was involved in a scuffle between a Chennaiyin player and a Kerala Blasters player.[112] This incident led Kerala Blasters fans to wear masks of Zinedine Zidane at the return leg in Kochi, intensifying the rivalry between the clubs.[111] The meetings between the two clubs later came to be known as the South Indian Derby.[113] Bengaluru FC became a part of the South Indian Derby, when they joined Indian Super League in 2017.

Bengaluru FC[edit]

The Blasters have also developed a rivalry with Karnataka-based club Bengaluru FC, which started in 2017 before Bengaluru began playing in the ISL.[114] The rivalry stems from the competition between both clubs fan bases; Manjappada of the Blasters and Bengaluru's West Block Blues.[115] The South Indian Derby between the Blasters and Bengaluru is often known as the 'Great South Indian Derby' or 'Real South Indian Derby'.[116]

Rivalry with ATK Mohun Bagan[edit]

The Blasters shares a rivalry with the Kolkata based club ATK Mohun Bagan. The club's rivalry with ATK started at the 2014 final, which ATK won in extra time. They played each other again at the 2016 final, which the Blasters lost on penalties.[117] In 2020 ATK merged with the football section of multi-sport club Mohun Bagan to form ATK Mohun Bagan. The Blasters faced ATK Mohun Bagan for the first time on 20 November 2020 in the opening fixture of 2020–21 season.[118]

Ownership[edit]

Kerala Blasters is owned by a fan group called Manjappada,[119] which was earlier known as Blasters Sports Ventures Private Limited (BSVPL).[120] From 2014 to 2015, the club was co-owned by Prasad V. Potluri[121] and Indian former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.[120] Tendulkar took a stake in the club because he wanted to help popularise football in India and to see Kerala return to its former glory as a footballing state.[121] In May 2014, He said; "People used to call me Master Blaster. I'm supporting Kerala, Kochi team. I hope the entire Kerala will be behind our football team. That's why we thought of naming it as Kerala Blasters FC."[121]

As of 2016, the other investors in the company include film stars Chiranjeevi and Nagarjuna, film producer Allu Aravind, and industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad.[120] In September 2018, Tendulkar decided to sell his stake in the company for personal reasons, stating; "A piece of my heart will always beat for Kerala Blasters".[122] The company also owns the Pro Kabaddi League team Tamil Thalaivas[123] and in 2020, the company entered in a partnership with Serbian volleyball club Radnicki Belgrade to form Radnicki Blasters, which plays in the Serbian First Division tournaments.[124][125]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 1 January 2021[126][127]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 India GK Bilal Khan
3 India DF Sandeep Singh
4 Burkina Faso DF Bakary Koné
5 India DF Nishu Kumar
6 India MF Prasanth K
7 India MF Seityasen Singh
8 India MF Rohit Kumar
9 Australia FW Jordan Murray
10 Argentina MF Facundo Pereyra
11 India MF Givson Singh
13 India GK Prabhsukhan Singh Gill
14 India DF Jessel Carneiro (Captain)
15 India MF Jeakson Singh
17 India MF Rahul Kannoly Praveen
No. Position Player
18 India MF Sahal Abdul Samad
20 India MF Ayush Adhikari
24 India DF Abdul Hakku
25 Spain MF Vicente Gómez (Third-captain)
26 Zimbabwe DF Costa Nhamoinesu (Vice-captain)
27 India MF Ritwik Das
31 Spain MF Juande
32 India GK Albino Gomes
39 India DF Lalruatthara
45 India DF Denechandra Meitei
47 India MF Puitea
49 India FW Subha Ghosh
77 India GK Muheet Shabir
88 England FW Gary Hooper
99 India MF Muktasana Sharma

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
India GK Lovepreet Singh (to India Sudeva Delhi FC till 31 July 2021)
India FW Naorem Mahesh Singh (to India Sudeva Delhi FC till 30 June 2021)
India FW Shaiborlang Kharpan (to India Sudeva Delhi FC till 30 June 2021)

Other players on contract[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
22 Spain MF Sergio Cidoncha (season out due to injury)

Retired number(s)[edit]

Number Player Position Kerala Blasters Debut Last Match Ref
21 India Sandesh Jhingan Centre back 21 October 2014 vs Chennaiyin 1 March 2019 vs NorthEast United [128]

Notable foreign internationals[edit]

See: List of Kerala Blasters FC's Notable Foreign Internationals

Personnel[edit]

Current technical staff[edit]

As of 10 January 2021
Kibu Vicuña is the current head coach of Kerala Blasters
Role Name Refs.
Head Coach/Manager Spain Kibu Vicuña [129]
Assistant Coach Poland Tomasz Tchórz [130]
Assistant Coach India Ishfaq Ahmed [131]
Goalkeeping Coach India Yusuf Ansari [132]
Tactical & Analytical Coach Spain David Ochoa [130]
Physical Preparation Coach Lithuania Paulius Ragauskas [130]
Physiotherapists India Pratik Kamble
India Santhosh Chacko
India Askar PV
Goalkeeping Academy Coach & Goalkeeping Consultant England John Burridge [133]
Reserves & U18 Head Coach India TG Purushothaman [134]
U15 Head Coach Vacant
U13 Head Coach Vacant
Scouting Head India Ishfaq Ahmed [135]

Management[edit]

Position Name Refs.
Chairman/Director of Operations India Nikhil Bhardwaj [136]
Director of Football India Mohammed Rafik [137]
Sporting Director Lithuania Karolis Skinkys [138]
Head of Team Operations IndiaManish Kochar
Technical Director (Youth) Romania Mario Marinică [139]
Chief Revenue Officer India Joby Joseph

Last updated: 16 October 2020
Source: [1]

Statistics and records[edit]

Season by season[edit]

As of 27 January 2021
Season League Finals Super Cup Top Scorer
P W D L GF GA Pts Position Player Goals
2014 14 5 4 5 9 11 19 4th Runners-up Did not exist

Canada Iain Hume 5
2015 14 3 4 7 22 27 13 8th DNQ Grenada Antonio German,
England Chris Dagnall
6
2016 14 6 4 4 12 14 22 2nd Runners-up India C.K. Vineeth 5
2017–18 18 6 7 5 20 22 25 6th DNQ Round of 16 Canada Iain Hume 5
2018–19 18 2 9 7 18 28 15 9th DNQ Qualification Round Serbia Slaviša Stojanović, Slovenia Matej Poplatnik 4
2019–20 18 4 7 7 29 32 19 7th DNQ Tournament Suspended Nigeria Bartholomew Ogbeche 15
2020–21 14 3 6 5 17 22 15 8th TBD TBP Australia Jordan Murray 6

Managerial history[edit]

Name Nationality Period Note
David James  England 2014–2015,
2017–2018
Player-manager (2014–2015)
Peter Taylor  England 2015
Trevor Morgan  England 2015 Caretaker
Terry Phelan  Ireland 2015–2016
Steve Coppell  England 2016–2017
René Meulensteen  Netherlands 2017
Nelo Vingada  Portugal 2019 Interim-manager
Eelco Schattorie  Netherlands 2019–2020
Kibu Vicuña  Spain 2020– Current manager

Team records[edit]

As of 3 February 2021

Reserves and academy[edit]

Kerala Blasters Reserves[edit]

On 20 February 2018, the All India Football Federation, the organising body for Indian football announced the Kerala Blasters and six other ISL sides would field a reserve team in the I-League 2nd Division, India's second division football league.[142] The team began playing in March 2018, when it was coached by Renjith TA.[143] The Kerala Blasters Reserves team also participates in the Kerala Premier League (KPL), a state football tournament organized by the Kerala Football Association. The young players from the under-18 team playing in the Elite League are promoted into the reserve team based on their performance.[144] During their first season in KPL, they finished the group stage in third place behind Sports Academy Tirur by one point missing the play-offs. The team's best performance came out in 2020 as they won the 2019–20 Kerala Premier League after defeating the reserve side of Gokulam Kerala FC in a Penalty shootout.[145]

Kerala Blasters Youth and Academy[edit]

The Kerala Blasters youth system, which is known as KBFC Young Blasters, consists of three teams from the under-18, under-15 and under-13 age groups.[146] The under-18 team participates in the Elite League, which is the top level of youth football in India.[146] The under-15 and under-13 teams participate in the Hero Juniors League and Hero Sub-Juniors League, respectively whereas the under-15 side also participates in the Kerala under-15 Academy League.[147]

Blasters in the media[edit]

Kerala Blasters were featured in the Manorama's programme 'Blasting out with Blasters', which shared in-depth interviews with the players and behind-the-scenes footages from the club's camp during the 2017–18 season.[148] On 19 November 2020, a day ahead of the 2020–21 ISL season, the Blasters released Yennum Yellow, a musical album inspired by the passionate fanbase of the club across the globe.[149] The album consists of six songs that shows the importance of yellow to its fans and it was the first time in India that a football club released an album as a dedication to their fans.[150] A week later, the Blasters also launched the Yennum Yellow comic book envisioned to provide the fans with a fun way to learn more about the club, its history, the squad and the activities being carried out by the club.[151] This was also a first of its kind project in Indian Football.[152]

Honours[edit]

Nationals[edit]

  • Indian Super League
Runners-up (2): 2014, 2016
  • Elite League (Under-18)
Runners-up: 2017–18

Regional[edit]

  • Kerala Premier League (Reserves)
Winners: 2019–20

References[edit]

  1. "Indian Super League sees interest from 30 franchise bidders". Business-Standard. 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2015. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. Basu, Saumyajit (13 April 2014). "Stars embrace soccer through Indian Super League". Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 June 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. "ISL Team - Kerala Blasters". twelfthman blog. 2019-11-28. Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-28. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. "Indian Super League: Sachin Tendulkar names his football team 'Kerala Blasters'". DNA India. 27 May 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
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