ISL’s back and kicking

As the sixth edition of Indian Super League takes off, fans are upbeat about Kerala Blasters’ chances of winning the title. Our lensmen Albin Mathew and A Sanesh capture the frenzy 

Published: 21st October 2019 11:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st October 2019 11:24 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Blasters' fans

Express News Service

KOCHI: Painted faces, coloured fumes, vociferous fans and booming drums. The football fanatics of Kerala have once again sunk into the razzmatazz of the beautiful game as Kerala Blasters FC (KBFC) took on ATK in the opening fixture of the sixth edition of Indian Super League on Sunday.

Proving their adulation for the game and bolstering the adage of Kerala being a hub for Indian football thousands of fans from across the state poured into the metro city to witness their idols roughing it out on the field. Abdul Samad, one such fan has come all the way from Badiyadukka, Kasaragod to watch the match. “It has now become an annual pilgrimage for me to attend the KBFC match since ISL’s inception in 2014. It’s not just a team. But, a passion that unites the entire state,” said the Yellow-clad Samad.

Like Samad, many hardcore fans thronged the stadium. “No matter what work comes my way, I have made it a priority to attend the matches. But JLN Stadium, Kochi is yet to become a wheelchair-friendly stadium. If the team stands for its fans, then KBFC should prioritise these aspects as well,” said Abdul Razik, a wheelchair-bound fan from Malappuram who came with his friend.

With the revamped squad, most fans are expecting a title-winning campaign from Kerala Blasters this time. Interestingly, not just boys, but a huge number of female fans also gathered for the opening match. “Stadiums were generally no-entry zones for women. But ISL has changed that and has attracted many families to the stadiums. I hope that things will improve further this season,” said Sraddha Shenoy, a student.

For jersey sellers and food vendors, every footballing season is a bumper. “Though I’m a caterer by profession, this (selling fried nuts and snacks during ISL) multiplies my love towards the game. I interact with fans to know about them,” said Hashim M, a street vendor who resides near JLN Stadium.

But there are a few discontent voices. “The new restrictions placed on vendors by the KBFC management have adversely affected our business. Earlier, we used to sell our merchandise in front of the stadium. Now we are forced to move away to the corners of Banerji Road,” said Ameen P K, a shop owner from Fort Kochi. Echoing a similar sentiment, Mohanan Nallappan, a face-painting artist from Chennai, said, “We are the ones who set the excitement going and usher in the mania before matches. If we are forced to exit from the premises, they are killing the soul of the game.”

Stay up to date on all the latest Football news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp