Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna co-own Sachin's Kerala Blasters

Welcoming his new co-owners, Sachin Tendulkar said: "This is a new start and I am sure that this formidable team with a lot of planning and thinking over the next few months will be able to deliver a side which will match the expectations of the large fan base that Kerala Blasters FC has."

Kerala Blasters owners Sachin Tendulkar, Nimmagadda Prasad and Akkineni Nagarjuna met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.   -  S. Mahinsha

A consortium of film stars Chiranjeevi and Akkineni Nagarjuna, producer Allu Arvind and industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad has joined cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as the co-owners of Kerala Blasters FC.

Making this strategic partnership public at a press conference here on Wednesday, Tendulkar, in the presence of the new co-owners, said it was quite natural in sport for teams or individuals to difficult times due to varying reasons. “I hope you would remember that I had tweeted at the end of the last season that the Kerala Blasters would be back with renewed vigour and vibrancy.”

“This is a new start and I am sure that this formidable off-the-field team, with a lot of planning and thinking over the next few months, will be able to deliver a side which will match the expectations of the large fan base that Kerala Blasters FC has. In sport, when passion meets professionalism, results are bound to follow. Our target is to lift the trophy at the end of the third ISL starting in October this year,” he said.

The new co-owners thanked Tendulkar for the opportunity given to them in working together for the betterment of football in the country in general and Kerala Blasters FC in particular, before affixing their signatures, symbolically, in a football and displaying the new victory sign of the team.

Blueprint for five-year-plan

Earlier on arrival in the city, Tendulkar and his partners called on Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan and discussed issues regarding the a blueprint for a five-year plan for developing football in the State.

The objective of the proposed plan is to propel Kerala football to greater heights by creating 100 footballers of international standard in the given period. This would also involve the establishment of a residential academy in which local talent from the State would be nurtured.

Kerala Blasters FC will provide the technical know-how for operating the academy and scouting talent for the programme while the State Government will offer infrastructure needs as well as other related support, including the promotion of the Kerala Blasters Grassroots Programme in school which will effectively work as a feeder system for the proposed academy.

The Chief Minister said the proposals put forward by Tendulkar and his team will be given active consideration shortly. The meeting was also attended by the Sports Minister, E.P. Jayarajan, the Finance Minister, Dr. T.M. Thomas Isaac and the Kerala Football Association president, K.M.I. Mather.

In a fine gesture, Tendulkar readily agreed to lend his name to the new campaign against tobacco and usage of drugs to be taken up by the State Government shortly.

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