Ready for Blast-off!

For, in Kerala, football is more than just a sport. It’s a sentiment that binds the people, evoking raw emotions and unyielding loyalty.

Published: 21st September 2023 07:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2023 07:43 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Blasters training ahead of their opening match against Bengaluru FC. The new ISL season kicks off today | T P Sooraj

Express News Service

KOCHI:  As the new season of the Indian Super League (ISL) dawns, there’s a palpable excitement in Kochi, the home of Kerala Blasters FC. It is here that the first match will be kicked off. The home side will take on Bengaluru FC, last year’s runners up, in what promises to be a thrilling contest.

ISL fans have been eagerly waiting for this encounter as the last match between the two titans was embroiled in controversy after members of the Kerala Blasters’ team walked off the pitch over the still-debated decision to allow Bengaluru FC’s hastily-taken free-kick to stand. The shot, which ended in the back of the net, helped the Sunil Chhetri-led side to snatch a win in the dying minutes of the game.

Kerala Blasters’ fan base, the famed ‘Manjappada’, which had ardently backed the coach Ivan Vukamanovic following his suspension for the March 3 incident, will be raring for a chance to once again turn the JNI Stadium into a fortress with their electrifying presence, that is at once intimidating for the opponents and motivating for the home side.

A student checks out jerseys of Kerala Blasters in Kaloor | A Sanesh

For, in Kerala, football is more than just a sport. It’s a sentiment that binds the people, evoking raw emotions and unyielding loyalty.

For many here, Kerala Blasters, fondly called the ‘Men in Yellow’, represent more than just a football club. They embody the dreams, aspirations, and pride of this sea of yellow. The past seasons have been a rollercoaster of emotions, with highs and lows, wins and losses, but the spirit of the Blasters has never wavered.

The upcoming season promises renewed hope. After all, every match is a new story, a fresh challenge, and an opportunity to shine. The tickets for the match have been selling like hot cakes, with fans descending in the city from even as far as Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram for Thursday's contest.

The dream of clinching the coveted ISL trophy is very much alive, and with the backing of one of the most passionate fan bases in the league, Kerala Blasters has all the moral support it needs. As the new season kicks off, let’s rally behind our team and hope this will be season where dreams turn into reality.

(Inputs from Ajsal O A)

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