Kerala Blasters – ISL Season II Preview
Kerala Blasters had an amazing first season, they exceeded all expectations by reaching the finals of first season. Blighted with ownership issues KBFC remained low key during the ISL auction but picked up some good players in the player draft. They have roped in an experienced Coach in Peter Taylor who will replace David James who was the marquee player/ manger last season. Trevor Morgan, former East Bengal coach remains as the assistant coach.
Blasters have recruited former Westham Goal Keeper Stephen Bywater, who will replace David James as the foreign keeper this season. Experienced custodian Sandip Nandy and Mohun Bagan goal Keeper Shilton Paul are the other goal keepers in the squad. Bywater will be the first choice keeper, otherwise we will see Sandip Nandy replacing him in the lineup.
Blasters have recruited former New Castle defender Peter Ramage who is expected to play a crucial role this season. Former Spanish International and World Cup winner Carlos Marchena (Marquee Player), Sandesh Jhinghan and Marcus Williams are the other stand out players in defense.
In the middle of the park, Blasters have a variety of options. Portuguese player Joao Coimbra and former Barca trained Josu is expected to start in the middle. CK Vineeth with his blistering pace could earn spot on the left. The other options in midfield are Cavin Lobo, Shankar, Mehtab Hussian Ishfaq Ahmed, Pulga and Peter Carvalho.
The real struggle for Blasters last season was scoring goals. They managed to score only 11 goals last season and out of that 5 were scored by Iain Hume who has then moved on to reigning champions ATK. Management seems to have put in a lot of thought to avoid the goal drought by signing some good talent upfront. The forward line-up of Chris Dagnall, former Arsenal man Sanchez Watt, Antonio German, Mohammed Rafi and Manandeep Singh, is quite a formidable one.
Blasters conceded only 11 goals last season, the lowest among all the teams. They will be looking to improve upon this record this season. With a great home support, Blasters could again be the surprise package of this season.