Saturday, Sep 22, 2018 | Last Update : 03:23 PM IST

Blasters up early for pre-season spectacle

THE ASIAN AGE. | ARUN GEORGE
Published : Jul 24, 2018, 12:06 am IST
Updated : Jul 24, 2018, 12:06 am IST

Melbourne head coach Warren Joyce is likely to roll out a young unit as he feels “they got to be grasping the opportunity and make the most of it.”

Kerala Blasters interim boss David James in Kochi. (Photo: Asian Age)
 Kerala Blasters interim boss David James in Kochi. (Photo: Asian Age)

Kochi: Kerala Blasters are in a limbo right now, bit like someone unexpectedly woken up by a stray cockcrow; undecided on how to spend the pre-dawn hours.

While every other Indian Super League franchise is still on vacation, or have only just unveiled a new boss like Jamshedpur did last week with the announcement of Cesar Ferrando, or is pursuing a membership drive like FC Goa, the Blasters’ first team are all set to kick-off a tournament Tuesday.

The visit of Australia’s Melbourne City FC and La Liga’s Girona FC for a three-game tournament in Kochi, a first of its kind inter-continental pre-season tourney in the country, means the Blasters have had to cut short their vacation and hastily prepare for the event. It also means the two-time finalists will have to cool off and take another break after the tournament gets wrapped up this Saturday because ISL-5 is yet to be announced.

“It is a pre-season of sorts, the two games,” said David James on eve of their tournament opener with A-League’s Melbourne City that is scheduled for 7pm kickoff at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

“We are left little bit in limbo because the ISL start dates have not been announced. The intensity is there and we got 31 players but it will be slightly different with regards to the ISL,” said the Englishman, who took an interim role in the second half of last season after Rene Meulensteen was sacked in the wake of poor results, and was appointed on a full-time basis for the fifth season.

The former Liverpool goalkeeper said the opportunity to play two quality sides that are already in a competitive mood — with Melbourne preparing for an FFA Cup Round of 32 tie against Brisbane Roar on August 7 and Girona warming up for the La Liga due to start August 19 — was too tempting to give a miss.

“Melbourne is one of the best sides in the A-League and Girona is one of the good sides in La Liga. You have to be realistic in one sense and show outside India how good we are,” James said.

Melbourne head coach Warren Joyce is likely to roll out a young unit as he feels “they got to be grasping the opportunity and make the most of it.”

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