To our dearest Kerala Blasters Football Club Supporters and Partners,
First and foremost, I’d like to begin by sending you all my prayers for the safety and well-being of each of you, your family members, and your friends. This past year has been an unexpected and tough ride for many of us. We all went from quickly running through our daily activities to abruptly halting, taking a step back, reflecting upon the pandemic and how we can do better for our world and people. I’m sure it has taken immense endurance and courage for each of us to be here today and I truly believe tough times like these strengthen and unite all of us.
As we continue our journey this upcoming season, I would like to offer a hearty congratulations and thanks to all of our supporters and partners as we have completed a successful 7-year run since our team was first founded. Over the years, we have built a strong foundation of over 6 million fans hailing from all across the world. All of this support has placed Kerala Blasters amongst the top 5 clubs in Asia and top 100 clubs worldwide.
The last 7 years have been nothing short of magical. Season 1 set high benchmarks and expectations. Season 2 taught us how to cope with failures. Season 3 was all about comebacks and instilled within us perseverance and belief. Season 4 illustrated that building a team is more than just having famous names with Season 5 breaking our hearts. In Season 6 Lady Luck wasn’t very kind but the groundwork and restructuring had started with Season 7, one where we were apart, taught everyone to trust the process.
It has been a journey of ups & downs, highs & lows, triumphs & defeats; however, one thing has always remained constant – your unwavering support. The passion was evident in the 50,000 fans that marched to the Kaloor for our very first home game, The camaraderie was felt during the heart-wrenching loss to ATK in the 2016 finals, it was loud and proud in the boycott when you demanded change to see the football the Club deserves, and the love was felt last year when the team was in a bubble in Goa and you showered us with support from home.
One of my favorite memories to date, despite the outcome of the game, would have to be the 2016 final against ATK. Partially because it was my first time stepping into Kaloor, but mainly because the spectacle of 100,000 people vociferously chanting ‘Blasters, Blasters’ still rings in my ears. That game and those chants serve as a constant reminder of the true meaning of football. A game that can inspire a feeling and passion that transcends all barriers to support a singular cause. Perhaps. the most heartening and inspiring moment for me was when Aditya, a young boy hailing from Kozhikode, consoled me after the loss and said, “Don’t worry, I will score and win the final for KBFC one day!” With a warm heart, I can proudly say that Aditya is well on his way to realizing his dream as he recently graduated from our KBFC U15 team and will make the next step by playing for our U18’s in the coming season. Fast forward 4 years from that final, along with Aditya, we have 90 such students in our academy system (U13-U18) currently training and eagerly awaiting their chance to follow the likes of Sahal, Jeakson, Ayush, and many others that have graduated from the academy to don the Yellow in front of the Yellow Wall. Most importantly, that brief interaction with Aditya was enough to make me and everyone at the club realize our true magnitude and potential to be able to inspire a whole new talented generation about football and Kerala Blasters.
Our club has always strongly encouraged and emphasized trust and belief in youngsters. The 3 ISL Emerging Player awards given to debutants from KBFC along with the 14 academy players that have graduated to the first team in the last 7 years truly reflect the positive judgment of the club’s investment in developing and guiding youngsters. In the same spirit and belief of developing football from the grassroots, we launched Young Blasters in 2019. Today, the Young Blasters – Sporthood program, despite the uncertainties of COVID, is well placed to coach, educate, and train up to 2000+ budding footballers of the state across 30 different centers in Kerala that stretch from Kovalam to Kozhikode. During this time, we have also empanelled over 40 coaches who we believe will be vital to the overall development of the football ecosystem in Kerala for many years to come.
We have always believed sports to be a medium of empowerment. We are aware of our influential platform and recognize this as our responsibility to constantly support the right causes, whether it is by raising awareness regarding stopping drunk driving, contributing to saving our planet, promoting gender equality, paying respects to our heroes, or sometimes even encouraging simple acts of kindness. This responsibility gave birth to our Yellow Heart initiative; a step taken by the club to encourage and empower every aspect of our community. With time, we want each of you, fans and members of our community, to know that we equally pledge our support to you as much as you support us.
In these challenging times, under our Yellow Heart Initiative, we continue to work closely with the state, at all levels, to provide masks, tablets, and other emergency relief for those in need. I would also like to proudly mention the heroic work that our various fan clubs are doing in the community to serve residents and groups that need a helping hand. The KBFC community has always risen to the occasion and has supported one another in difficult moments like this. We ensure to continue to do so as there is still a long way to go. Rest assured, we remain resolute in our support and commitment to the well-being of the state.
Despite the global pandemic, we feel very encouraged and motivated as we hear a great supply of enthusiasm and optimism, both within the Club and amongst our supporters. Thankfully all of our players have remained healthy and stayed safe. Those who have faced injuries or have been affected by COVID-19 are recovering well. Until early May, a few of them were also participating in the individual training camp in Kochi alongside our academy players. We plan to resume these as soon as the current situation improves. I would like to assure you that our entire team – technical and management – continues to work tirelessly in anticipation of the upcoming season and preparations are in full swing. We also truly appreciate your patience and understanding during this time and would like to inform you all that the wait won’t be much longer, our new head coach will be announced “soon”.
As we look to the future, we know that we will not get everything right. However, as we continue on this journey, I request you to please bear with us and be assured that we will continue to work hard to bring more success to our club and remain true to our values.
Finally, on behalf of everyone at the club, I want to commend the courageous men and women on the front lines of this unprecedented battle in Kerala, India, and throughout the world. To everyone who is committed to our well-being, from health care workers to those helping deliver our daily essentials and many, many others, thank you! To everyone reading this letter, please consider that the best way to honour these brave people is by respecting all the mandates and recommendations by our health and public officials. That will not only help to ensure our health and wellness but theirs as well.
Thank you for your support over the last 7 years and we look forward to your continued and unwavering support in the future. Please stay safe and our best wishes to everyone.