Six months after its controversial walkout in the playoffs, the Kerala Blasters meet Bengaluru FC again in the Indian Super League, this time in the season-opener at the Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.
And the Blasters, who suffered a heavy fine while the head coach Ivan Vukomanovic took a 10-match suspension which is not yet over, have pushed away all the bitterness from their mind.
“I think what happened last year is over, now we are into the new season and new chances,” said Frank Dauwen, the Blasters’ assistant coach, here on Wednesday.
Life has not been very good for Blasters in the last few months. The team lost to Gokulam Kerala in the Durand Cup where it failed to make the quarterfinal and will be now without its talented Sahal Abdul Samad and goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill who have joined other clubs (Mohun Bagan Super Giant and East Bengal, respectively). The team’s forward Ishan Pandita is also on the injured list.
How is the Blasters team when compared to last year?
“Difficult to say because we have a lot of new young players, our foreign players are also new so we have to see. But the team is prepared,” said Dauwen.
A packed house is expected here on Thursday and the Blasters will hope to gain new energy from that.
Meanwhile last year’s runner-up Bengaluru which has lost a few players, including the seasoned Sunil Chhetri, to the Indian team now playing the Asiad in in China, is looking at the positives from the situation.
“We fully respect Sunil’s decision to play for the national team. Tomorrow is an opportunity for whoever starts, to do well,” said Simon Grayson, the Blasters head coach.
Kerala Blasters full ISL squad
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