The Indian Super League has been an annual staple of the Indian football scene ever since its inaugural season in 2014. This year marks the league’s ninth season, with the best Indian Super League teams competing against each other for the coveted trophy. One of those teams is Kerala Blasters FC a.k.a Tuskers which enjoys a popularity that can only be rivalled by international clubs. Their fan club, called ‘Manjappada’, is also quite famous for its passionate support of the football club.
Unfortunately, the 2023 season hasn’t been quite successful for the team, as Kerala Blasters have suffered back-to-back defeats, with their latest loss being at the hands of FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium on 22 January 2023. As Kerala Blasters pick themselves up and start prepping for their match against NorthEast United this Sunday, we deep dive into the club’s origin and discover why it’s so popular.
Kerala Blasters FC: Its Inception
Logo: The Elephant
Primary Colour: Yellow
Kerala Blasters FC, founded on 27th May 2014, runs under Magnum Sports Private Limited, with industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad, film actor Chiranjeevi, Indian film producer Allu Arvind and Nikhil Bhardwaj as co-owners.
The name Kerala Blasters is a homage to one of their former co-owners, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar who was famously nicknamed the ‘Master Blaster’. The club’s logo, which depicts an elephant holding a football in its trunk, denotes unity, power and pride. The elephant is also representative of the state of Kerala. As for the colours, the team’s primary tones are yellow and blue which represent determination and faith.
Kerala Blasters FC: Meet the squad
Kerala Blasters stand out for being one the most popular teams in the Indian Super league. Currently, Jessel Carneiro is leading the 2022-2023 squad which also includes Bijoy Varghese, Harmanjot Khabra, Marko Leskovic, Nishu Kumar, Ruivah Hormipam, Soraisham Sandeep Singh, Victor Mongil, Adrian Luna, Ayush Adhikari, Bryce Miranda, Givson Singh, Ivan Kaliuzhnyi, Jeakson Singh, Nihal Sudeesh, Sahal Samad, Saurav Mandal, Vibin Mohanan, Apostolos Giannou, Bidyashagar Khangembam, Dimitrios Diamantakos, Rahul Kannoly Praveen and Sreekuttan MS.
Manjappada: The club’s passionate fan club
📸 from #FCGKBFC
— Kerala Blasters FC (@KeralaBlasters) January 23, 2023
Manjappada, which translates to Yellow Army, is the official fan club of the Kerala Blasters FC. Manjappada is famous for its passionate members and supporters, so much so that its Instagram account has amassed more than 49,000 followers on Instagram and more than 100,000 followers on Twitter!
Due to their immense popularity and enthusiasm towards football, the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi has named its eastern gallery ‘Manjappada Stand’, which is pretty cool. The fan club has also been recognised for its show of enthusiasm and support for Kerala Blasters FC at international tournaments. The Asian Football Confederation too honoured Manjappada for showing incredible support and love for their team at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Additionally, in 2022, the group also featured in a documentary titled Maitanam, The Story of Football in Kerala, showcasing Keralites’ love for football.
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Kerala Blasters FC: Their impressive achievements
The Kerala Blasters are yet to win any championships in the Indian Super League. However, the team is a three-time ISL finalist and has won the Kerala Premier League in 2019-20.
In one of their pre-match conferences this year, Ivan Vukomanovic, Head Coach of the team, spoke about their desire to be in the playoffs and win trophies. Vukomanovic is a Serbian professional football manager who was inducted as the team’s coach in 2021 and will continue until 2025. His contract was renewed with the team in April 2022 for three years.
Meet their women’s squad: The KBFC Women
The team also has a women’s wing, Kerala Blasters FC Women, that was officially founded in July 2022. This team competes in the Kerala Women’s League, organised by the Kerala Football Association. We honestly can’t wait to see them grow, both in terms of their skills and popularity, in the near future.
The KBFC Young Blasters’ programme
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The club also initiated a KBFC Young Blasters programme in November 2019 to groom budding and passionate young talent in the state. Also, just when we thought we couldn’t love Kerala Blasters FC any more, their Young Blasters programme recently welcomed an all-girls batch.
Hero image credit: Twitter@KeralaBlasters
Featured image credit: Twitter@KeralaBlasters
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Adrian Luna is considered to be one of the best players of the Kerala Blasters FC squad.
Answer: No, as of January 2023, the Kerala Blasters FC has not won any ISL championships.
Answer: Having won three championships, ATK Mohun Bagan FC is considered to be one of the best teams in ISL. For the 2022-2023 season, however, Mumbai City FC is currently at the top of the leaderboard.
Answer: The next match for Kerala Blasters FC is scheduled for 29 January 2023. They will be playing against NorthEast United.