Here is our exclusive Kerala Blasters Squad Preview for ISL 2020/21. Kerala Blasters, arguably the most well-supported team in the country are still looking for their first ISL title. This season they hired the I-League-winning coach Kibu Vicuna to turn their fortunes in the country’s premium football tournament. Kerala Blasters features a roaster filled with some of the most talented Indian and high-profile Foreign players. Here we will analyze the Kerala Blasters squad and will try to look at the different aspects of the team.
Kerala Blasters Squad Preview: Important Signings
Gary Hooper is the most expensive foreign player in the history of ISL. So a lot of expectations are burdened on his shoulders by the Yellow Sea. He has plied his trades for big clubs like Celtic, Norwich City, and Sheffield Wednesday. He has transferred to Kerala from A-League side Wellington Phoenix. Gary Hooper is an excellent goal scorer and his finishing skills are well known in Australia, which will be a valuable asset for his new side. Throughout his career, he has played 476 matches in which he has scored 207 goals and registered 65 assists. His goal-scoring record proves his quality which is very high.
One of the most crucial transfer this season is Nishu Kumar’s, The former Bengaluru FC player has joined Kerala Blasters. The Left-Back is considered one of the most talented players in the country. The 23-year-old Left-Back has already played 40 ISL matches, which is quite a number for his age. Nishu is well known for his lightning-quick pace and attacking prowess from overlapping runs. Nishu Kumar will have to compete with Jessel Carneiro for the position. But as of now, this deal can change the fortune of Kerala’s defensive block.
Kerala Blaster’s reason for downfall has always been defense. With Sandesh Jhingan leaving the club, the defense looked quite weak but with the acquisition of experienced talisman Costa Nhamoinesu, the defense looks more solid than ever. The CV of Costa is one of the best in the league. The Zimbabwean has played for Sparta Praha who is one of the well-known clubs of Europe. He has played in the Champions League, Europa League and played against high-profile European Clubs. He and Bakary Kone can pretty much form the strongest defensive partnership in the league.
Kerala Blasters Squad Preview: How the Things Looks like for Manjappada
The Goalkeeping department of Kerala Blasters features the right mixture of youth and experience. Bilal Khan and Albino Gomes will be competing for becoming the first choice keeper. The team also possess the highly talented Prabsukhan Singh Gill who has made his way to the “God’s Own Country” from Bengaluru FC. Prabsukhan also has an outside chance to break into the club’s first team.
Defence: The Strength of Blasters
Kerala Blasters possesses the best defence of the league on paper, can they prove it on the pitch remains the question. The team boasts of a centre back partnership of Bakary Kone and Costa Nhamoinesu, both are experienced enough to guide the youths in the ranks. The full-back partnership will also be a source of strength. It will be interesting to see who plays in the left-back position will it be Nishu Kumar or team’s best player from last year Jessel Carneiro. There is also the possibility of both of them starting from the two flanks at the back.
Midfield: Can Blasters make a Mark?
Kerala Blasters have heavily recruited new players in the team’s midfield after a disappointing performance from last year. The midfield has Indian players like Seityasen Singh, Arjun Jayaraj who are the experienced at the highest level. Kerala Blasters has the best Indian prodigy in their ranks in form of Sahal Abdul Samad, who will play a very crucial part in the team’s journey this season.
The side also has top talents in form of Jeakson Singh, Puitea and others. Now coming to the foreigners, a lot of new faces are there in the form of Facundo Pereyra, Vicente Gomez alongside Cidonha who is retained from last year’s squad. The defensive midfielder Gomez has played for some of the biggest clubs in Spain and will try to destroy the opponent’s attack high up the pitch and play it to creative Pereyra who will try to play it upfront.
Forwards: Who will be the Saviour of Yellow Army?
Kerala Blasters have lost Ogbeche to Mumbai City FC but has quickly replaced him with experienced Hooper, who is expected to take the league by storm. Jordan Murray has also made his way into the club and has quite some goal tally and will be a man to watch out for. Nongdamba Naorem is one of the most sought young talents of the league is also there, he is also expected to start due to his time at Kolkata where he played under Kibu Vicuna for the Green and Maroon. Prasanth K and Rahul KP will also provide the team, quality players who can come from the bench and change the tide of the match.
Kibu Vicuña (Head Coach)
The I league Winning coach is one of the most highly-rated managers in the country. He has managed teams like Wisla Plock, Slask Wroclaw, Riteriai. He has managed in Polish, Latvian and Indian leagues, he has vast experience in various top leagues. He is also very much experienced in Indian land, he has guided Mohun Bagan to an emphatic I-League title. He is associated with a beautiful passing style of play, Manjappada will hope Kibu will lead them to their first ISL title.
Favourite Formation: 4-2-3-1
Previous Club: Mohun Bagan
Ishfaq Ahmed (Assistant Coach): The former Indian international is associated with the team for the last few years and will play a crucial part.
Tomasz Tchorz (Assistant Coach): An important backroom staff for Kibu, he has been part of his backroom staff for quite some time. He is aware of Kibu’s methodology.
Kerala Blasters Squad Preview: Players to Watch Out For
Sahal Abdul Samad
The 23-year-old midfielder is considered among the most talented players in the country. The Kerala Blasters lad is technically astute and his ball-carrying skill is one of the best in the league. Sahal is one of the finest players who can play the ball through the tightest of spaces with his dribbling skills. To Kerala to succeed this season, he will have to play a very crucial role in the heart of the midfield to ensure the team’s victory. Can Sahal continue his great performance, that is to be seen? Only time can tell.
Jessel Carneiro was one of the few shining lights in an otherwise dull last season. Jessel will play a very crucial role in the left-back position. Last season he has provided 5 assists, it will be interesting to see if he can retain his position as he will fight with Nishu Kumar for his position in the team. He is one of the few attacking-full backs in the country, a lot will rest on his shoulder to provide the balls to Hooper and Murray.
Kerala Blasters Squad Preview: Young Player to Watch Out For
Kibu Vicuna’s favourite player from last season, Naorem was the colt who put I-League ablaze with his flashy skills. He can be both a goalscorer as well as play the role of creative midfielder by producing through balls which can tear apart opponent’s defence. He can play as a wide midfielder and can also play as a central attacking midfielder. Kibu will try to develop him further this season, only time will tell if he v=can put ISL ablaze with his skills.
Kerala Blasters is one of the most passionate sides in the league, trophy has eluded them though. This season they will try to change this fact. Can Kibu lead his side to the first title? Only a fortnight left before we can come to know about this season’s team chemistry along with performance. Manjappada will be praying that this year can finally turn out to be their own year.
Are you excited to see Kerala Blasters in ISL 2020-21? What is your opinion about this Kerala Blasters Preview? Please let us know in the comments below.