KOCHI: It is that time of the year again when domestic football action returns to the city as Kerala Blasters FC returns to the field to face two world-class clubs in a first-of-its-kind preseason football tournament at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi from July 24.
And the Kochi-based Indian Super Leauge (ISL) club’s pacy attacker Vineeth CK is looking forward to facing Spanish La Liga’s Girona FC and Australian A-League’s Melbourne City FC as they continue their hunt for the elusive domestic league title in the upcoming season.
“Girona we all know is a top side who defeated European Champions League winners Real Madrid 2-1 during the Spanish domestic season. Melbourne, meanwhile, is one of the leading sides in Australia and is a partner club of English Premier League club Machester City,” said Vineeth.
“So, it will be two tough challenges for our team as we prepare for the new season,” said the India international who was meeting the players of the Maharaja’s College football team at the Maharaja’s College Stadium here to promote the Toyota Yaris La Liga World tournament.
Blasters are expected to begin their preparatory camp next week at Ahmedabad’s brand new TansStadia Arena Project sports complex which was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi last year. After a week-long camp under head coach David James, the team will head back to Kochi for the tournament.
They will first face Melbourne on July 24 followed by the game against Girona on July 28. The final match of the tournament will see Girona and Melbourne go head to head on July 29. “It is great to have such a tournament happening in Kerala. It is not always we witness such top sides in India and we want to put up a good show for our Yellow Army,” said Vineeth.
Vineeth also said that he was sad to see fan favourite Iain Hume leave Blasters. “As we all know, we are all professional footballers. Sometimes, things do not happen as we wish to. Hume has been a great servant for the club and it was great to play with him last season. I hope he will be back to action soon,” said Vineeth of the ISL’s leading goalscorer.
After seeing his favourite team Spain crash out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to hosts Russia, Vineeth now hopes that Croatia will go on to lift the coveted trophy defeating France in the final on Sunday. “Croatia is a small country who will play their first ever World Cup final. It would be great to have a new world champion come Sunday,” said Vineeth.