With arguably the country’s most passionate fans backing them, the Tuskers would be hoping for 2021 to be the season where they go the final step to achieve glory.
Let’s take a look at Kerala Blasters’ squad for 2021-2022
Kerala Blasters Goalkeepers
A member of the Chandigarh Football Academy and the AIFF Elite Academy, 20-year-old Gill was a member of the U17 World Cup squad in 2017 for the Indian national team.
That same year, Gill made his senior debut with Indian Arrows in the I-League and after two impressive seasons was signed up by Bengaluru FC in 2019. Gill’s time at Bengaluru was sporadic, and after a season with the Blues, he moved to Kerala Blasters on a two-year deal in 2020.
Goa-born Gomes started his youth career with the likes of Sporting Clube de Goa and Salgaocar before making his senior team debut for the latter in 2013.
After spending a season on loan with Mumbai City FC, Gomes made his Mumbai move permanent in 2016. Limited game time at Mumbai prompted Gomes to spend another year on loan with I-League side Aizawl, whom he helped to win the I-League in 2016/17. Following his strong performances, Gomes earned a call up to the national team and got signed up by Delhi Dynamos.
After two seasons with the Delhi franchise, Gomes joined Odisha FC in 2019 and spent a year with them before signing with Kerala Blasters in 2020.
Gomes, till date, is the only Indian keeper to have an assist in the India Super League, something he achieved with the Blasters in January 2021 in a match against East Bengal.
20-year-old Suresh started his career with FC Kerala in the I-League 2nd Division in 2019 before being signed up by Kerala Blasters in 2020.
20-year-old Shabir began his career with Real Kashmir before moving to the Jammu and Kashmir State Football Academy in 2017.
After two years with the J&K State FA, Shabir moved to Kerala Blasters FC in 2019, joining their B team. Ahead of the ISL 2021/22 season, Shabir was promoted to the Blasters’ senior squad.
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Kerala Blasters Defenders
Bosnia and Herzegovina international Sipović started his youth career with Sarajevo-based Željezničar.
Sipović made his senior team debut in 2009 with Romanian club Oțelul Galați and spent six seasons with them before moving to Westerlo in Belgium in 2015.
Sipović then moved to Tanger in Morocco for two seasons — from 2015 to 2017 — before signing for Berkane for a solitary year. After a year-long spell with Ohod in Saudi Arabia in 2018, Sipović returned to his boyhood club of Željezničar in 2019. His return, though, wasn’t a lengthy one, as he moved clubs again the following season to Umm Salal in Qatar.
Sipović made his ISL debut with Chennaiyin FC in 2020, and after a season with the Chennai team, he moved to their rivals at the start of the 2021 season.
Member of the Shillong Lajong youth academy, Singh made his professional debut in 2014 with Lajong in the I-League. After spending three seasons with the club, where his chances were limited, Singh left Lajong for I-League 2nd Division club Langsning FC. He spent a season with them before making the move to the ISL with ATK in 2018.
Singh didn’t get much game time with ATK and moved to TRAU in 2019 before signing for Kerala Blasters in 2020, with whom he has a contract till 2025.
A graduate of the Minerva Punjab youth team, Hormipam made his senior debut with Indian Arrows in the I-League in 2019 after impressing everyone in the junior categories.
Following a season with the Arrows, Hormipam moved to Punjab FC, and his performances there earned him an ISL call-up with Kerala Blasters, who signed up the 20-year-old in 2021 on a three-year deal.
Born in Muzaffarnagar, Kumar was a member of the AIFF Elite Academy before making his debut for Bengaluru FC in 2015.
Kumar spent five seasons with the Bangalore-based franchise, representing the club in both the I-League and the ISL. An I-League and ISL winner, Kumar left Bengaluru FC in 2020 when he signed a four-year deal with Kerala Blasters, which was at the time the highest-paid deal for an Indian defender.
Captain of Kerala Blasters, Goan Carneiro started his career in the youth setup of Raya FC and Curtorim Gymkhana FC before making his senior debut with Dempo in the I-League in 2012. The left-back spent two seasons with Dempo before moving to Pune FC in 2014 on a year-long deal.
Carneiro returned to Goa with FC Bardez and spent two seasons with them before returning to Dempo in 2018. After an impressive second outing with Dempo, the Goan state team captain was signed up by Kerala Blasters in 2019, with whom he has a contract till 2023.
Graduate of the AIFF Elite Academy, Stalin spent a season at Portuguese club CD Aves before moving to Sertanense in the Portuguese third division in 2020.
Stalin moved back to India in 2021, signing with the Tuskers in 2021 on a three-year deal.
Graduate of the Mohun Bagan Academy, Meitei made his senior team debut with Pune FC in the I-League in 2013.
Meitei moved to Churchill Brothers in 2017 and spent a season with them before moving to NEROCA and TRAU for a season each with the Imphal-based clubs. Meitei made the move to the ISL in 2020 when the Blasters signed him on a multi-year deal that sees the left back stay with the club till 2024.
Croatia international Lešković was a member of the Osijek youth setup and made his senior team debut for them in 2010. Lešković spent three years at Osijek before moving to Rijeka in 2013, with whom he spent three years and made more than 50 appearances.
Lešković made the move to Dinamo Zagreb in 2016 and spent five years with the club before signing for Kerala Blasters in 2021 on a year-long deal.
Hakku started his career with SAT Tirur and DSK Shivajians before making his senior team debut for the latter in the I-League in 2015.
Hakku moved to Fateh Hyderabad in 2016 and shifted clubs again the following year, moving to the ISL with NorthEast United. Hakku returned to his home state of Kerala in 2018 after the Tuskers signed him on a multi-year deal.
Also Read – FC Goa Squad 2021-2022
Kerala Blasters Midfielders
Khawlhring, also known as Puitea, started his career in the youth setup of Bethlehem Vengthlang in the Mizoram Premier League and then DSK Shivajians before making his senior debut for the Pune side in the I-League in 2016.
After a promising debut season, Puitea was signed up by NorthEast United, where he spent three years before moving to Kerala Blasters in 2020.
Adhikari spent his youth career in Germany, at the U Dream Football Academy, before making his senior debut in India with Bangalore-based Ozone FC in 2018. A series of impressive performances led to Kerala Blasters signing him up for their reserve team, and Adhikari was loaned out to Indian Arrows for the 2019 season.
Adhikari returned to the Blasters in 2020 and now has a multi-year deal with the Tuskers.
19-year-old Singh spent his youth career with Minerva Punjab and AIFF Elite Academy before making his professional debut in 2019 with Indian Arrows at the age of 17.
Singh’s promising talent was quickly noticed by the other teams, and the Blasters roped in the youngster from Manipur in 2020 on a long-term deal that sees Singh with the club until 2024.
Sahal Abdul Samad
One of the country’s most promising upcoming talents, Samad was born in the UAE and is a graduate of the Al-Ethihad Football Academy.
Once Samad shifted to India, he was a member of the Kerala state team in the Santosh Trophy, where his performances grabbed eyeballs. He was quickly roped in by the Kerala Blasters in 2017 and spent a year with their B team before making his senior team debut in 2018.
20-year-old Singh started off in the youth setup of Minerva Punjab before making his debut for their senior team at the age of 16 in 2017.
After spending a season on loan with Indian Arrows, Singh was roped in by Kerala Blasters in 2018. Singh has also represented India and was a member of the U17 World Cup squad, and he created history by becoming the first and only Indian till date to have scored in a FIFA tournament.
Prasanth started his career in the AIFF Elite Academy and then spent time with Pune’s DSK Shivajians before signing up for Kerala Blasters in 2016.
Prasanth was loaned out to Chennai City in the I-League in 2017. Prasanth returned to the Tuskers in 2017 where he made his professional debut and has a contract until 2023.
Uruguayan professional Luna has played for clubs around the world, and the Tuskers will be hoping that he brings all his experience to help the club win their maiden ISL trophy.
Luna started his career in the youth academy of Defensor Sporting, for whom he made his senior team debut in 2010. After a season with the Uruguayan club, Luna moved to LaLiga when he signed for Espanyol. During his two-year spell with Espanyol, Luna spent time away on loan with Gimnàstic, Sabadell and Nacional before returning to Sporting on a permanent move in 2013. He spent two seasons with Sporting before moving to Mexican club Veracruz. After four seasons with Veracruz, he shifted to the A-League when he signed for Melbourne City.
Luna joined Kerala Blasters in 2021 on a two-year deal.
Veteran player Khabra made his senior debut way back in 2006 with Sporting Clube de Goa after graduating from Tata Football Academy. Khabra spent three years with the Goan side before moving to East Bengal, with whom he spent seven years and made over 200 appearances.
Khabra played for Chennaiyin in the initial ISL edition, and after leaving East Bengal in 2016, he signed permanently for Chennaiyin. With the Chennai franchise, Khabra won the ISL trophy, before leaving them in 2017 and moving to Bengaluru FC. Khabra won his second ISL title with Bengaluru FC and amassed more than 100 appearances for the club over a span of four seasons.
Khabra left Bengaluru FC in 2021 and signed with Kerala Blasters on a two-year deal.
Rahul Kannoly Praveen
21-year-old Rahul is a graduate of the AIFF Elite Academy and made his professional debut in 2017 with Indian Arrows. His impressive performances with the Arrows led to the Blasters signing him in 2019.
Kerala Blasters Forwards
Veteran Spanish striker Vázquez has represented a total of ten clubs in his career till date.
Vázquez, a member of the Espanyol youth academy, made his senior team debut with the Espanyol B team in 2009. The Spaniard’s knack for scoring goals saw him get a call-up to the senior team and Vázquez spent two seasons with Espanyol, with whom he amassed over 60 appearances. He moved to Getafe in 2012 and spent four years with them and even spent a season on loan with Swansea City in 2013.
Vázquez returned to Espanyol in 2016 and stayed for a further three years before moving to Sporting Gijón in 2019. After two seasons, Vázquez joined Kerala Blasters in 2021 on a one-year contract.
Nicknamed ‘the Bhutanese Ronaldo’ because of his style of play, Gyeltshen, at 25, captains his national team and his already his country’s all-time leading scorer.
Gyeltshen started his career with Yeedzin FC in Bhutan in 2008 before moving to Druk United in 2014. Gyeltshen had a short stint with Thimpu FC, after which he moved to Thailand with Buriram United in 2015. Gyeltshen shifted to Malaysia in 2016, where he represented Satun United before returning to Bhutan with Thimphu City.
Gyeltshen spent time with FC Terton and Bangladeshi club Chittagong Abahani between 2016 and 2017 before moving to India in 2017 when he signed for Minerva Punjab. Since then, he has had spells with Bengaluru FC, NEROCA and RoundGlass Punjab FC.
Gyeltshen signed for Kerala Blasters in 2021 on a two-year deal.
21-year-old Barretto is a graduate of the Dempo academy and was signed up by FC Goa in 2017.
Barretto spent three years with the Goan side, albeit with their B team. Barretto signed for Gokulam Kerala in 2020 and won the I-League in his debut season with the club. Barretto was signed by Kerala Blasters in 2021 on a three-year deal.
Jorge Pereyra Díaz
Argentinean professional Díaz started his career with Ferro Carril Oeste in Buenos Aires in 2008. After spending four seasons with Ferro, Díaz moved to Lanús in 2013.
Díaz left Argentina for the first time in 2014 when he signed with Malaysian club Johor Darul Ta’zim. During his four-year spell with the Malaysian team, Díaz spent time on loan with Independiente and Club León. He returned to Argentina in 2018 with Lanús and then moved to Club Bolívar the following season. The striker spent a season with San Marcos before moving to Platense in 2021.
Díaz is currently on a season-long loan from Platense to Kerala Blasters, and the Tuskers will hope the Argentine uses all his experience from playing around the world to help them lift the ISL trophy.
Hailing from Manipur, Singh made his professional debut with Shillong-based I-League team Royal Wahingdoh FC in 2011, where he spent four seasons.
During his time with Royal Wahingdoh, Singh was loaned out to NorthEast United for a season in 2015. Singh moved from the northeast to the southwest coast when he signed with Salgoacar FC in 2016. He had further spells with NorthEast United and DSK Shivajians before signing with Delhi Dynamos in 2017. After a season with the Delhi team, Singh returned to NorthEast United, but lack of game time saw the winger make a move again, this time to Kerala Blasters in 2019
Singh extended his contract with the Tuskers in 2020 in a deal that will see him at the club till 2022.