‘Malayalis United’ – How are fans around the world preparing for the final ISL clash of the Kerala Blasters?

They love their football in Kerala. People in the southwestern state of India have always been crazy about the game. Children having fun in any space they can gather and adults bonding over the latest football game they saw are commonplace in Kerala.

Kerala has produced many football stars from Olympian Rahman to Captain Mani to Vice President Sathyan to the great IM Vijayan. Then there were teams that the Malayalis carried in their hearts. There were the Santosh Trophy national teams. There was the Kerala Police team in the 80s and 90s. Then there was FC Kochin.

And in the past decade, no sporting entity has managed to capture the imagination of Kerala like the Kerala Blasters have. The Indian Super League (ISL) club have been championing Kerala’s love of the game for almost eight years now. During this period, they reached three ISL finals. They’ve lost two and are set to play their third on Sunday.

Ivan Vukomanovic Kerala Blasters ISL 2021-22


And, as expected, the Malayalis are pumped. Especially since this moment has come after four seasons of disappointing results. They stuck with the team through those disappointments and now they’re making it count.

Although this season of the ISL, for a second consecutive edition, was played behind closed doors, the Manjappada supported their team in every way possible. Footage from the Kochi fan park as Blasters managed to seal a spot in the final ray volumes.

With the final open to fans, many Malayalis traveled to Goa to cheer on their team as they bid for their first ever ISL title.

But that’s not all. The whole of Kerala will be supporting the club from their homes and the various fan parties held across the state. But the support for the Kerala Blasters doesn’t stop there. It goes far beyond Kerala.

The club has united Malayalis all over the world. In fact, there are fans wearing yellow gearing up for Sunday’s summit clash in countries like the UK, USA, Canada, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and more.

In Canada, the screening is conducted in association with the Toronto Malayalee Samajam (the cultural organization of Keralites living in Toronto). In fact, for Blasters fans in the United States and Canada, this is a long-awaited opportunity.

“We have a lot of members here and have been waiting for this moment for so long. It’s the very first time we’ve met. The Manjappada Canada and USA wing has been in effect since 2020. As the Covid outbreak and restrictions were in effect at that time, there was nothing we could do so far. But we still talk a lot about Indian football and especially the Kerala Blasters in our group ever since,” said Basil, one of Manjappada’s American and Canadian wing coordinators. Goal.

“This is the very first time that we have had the chance to come together to encourage and support our team. And yes, we are all set for the screening which is here on Sunday at 10 a.m.,” he added.

And it was the culmination of a long wait for Blasters fans. They had to wait to see the team achieve any semblance of success. And that expectation has made this season even sweeter for them.

“I don’t really know how to express how we feel right now in words. This season has been fantastic and all the praise to Karolis (Skinkys) and Ivan (Vukomanovic). They built this team in no time,” he said.

The same enthusiasm is shared by the huge number of Blasters fans in the UAE. The Middle Eastern country has a large Malayali diaspora (and is often considered the 15th district of Kerala). And there are organized fan parks all over Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. In fact, most of these fan parks are already full. There is also a live screening at Expo Dubai!

“All my friends are going to the screening in Dubai. It’s already sold out. We’re all excited beyond measure,” said Dubai-based Kerala Blasters fan Faiz VB. Goal.

It is also the same scenario in Qatar. Manjappada members in Doha have set up giant screens and are expecting a full house for the final.

“It was a long awaited moment, we are unable to make it to the stands in Goa but we will watch together and celebrate every moment with the fans here. The hard work of the players, technical staff and coaches has given this result. As fans, we got much more than we could have asked for,” said Deepesh Govindan Kutty, President of Manjappada Qatar. The peninsula.

There are similar screenings in other countries, including the UK. All of this highlights how Kerala Blasters have transcended the state of Kerala. It has become an emotion for Malayalis all over the world. With Malayalis united behind them, the Kerala Blasters hope to give them an unforgettable night on Sunday.

James C. Tibbs