With a passionate fanbase, Kerala Blasters FC has emerged as one of the most revered sides in the Indian Super League (ISL). The club finished as runners-up in 2014 and 2016 and has had notable football players like David James, Dimitar Berbatov and Wes Brown headlining its squad.
But there have been a few select names that have given the team an edge and have, over the years, taken the mantle of being the best player at Kerala Blasters. Here’s a look at those who have made a difference for the Yellow Army in the ISL.
Bartholomew Ogbeche, Blasters’ top goal-scorer
Bartholomew Ogbeche spent just one season at the club, but in that time, the Nigerian etched his name as the highest goal-scorer of all time in the Kerala Blasters’ history.
With 15 goals in 16 games in the 2019-20 season, Ogbeche scored half of the team’s goals in a rather sluggish ISL season and lifted the Blasters’ fans’ spirits with confident performances as club captain.
With 15 goals in the last campaign, our skipper Bart Ogbeche got his personal best tally in a Hero ISL season and etched his name in our history books as the highest goalscorer for the club.#YennumYellow #Staturday pic.twitter.com/XHysOBYQc8— K e r a l a B l a s t e r s F C (@KeralaBlasters) May 2, 2020
Bartholomew Ogbeche now plays for Mumbai City FC after signing a year-long deal in October 2020. Given his prolific scoring rate during his time at the club, Ogbeche is undoubtedly someone who has earned the right to be called the best player at Kerala Blasters.
CK Vineeth, the Mr Unpredictable
In four seasons at the club, Indian footballer CK Vineeth became a local hero at Kerala Blasters despite his inconsistent performances.
His debut season in ISL 2014-15 was forgettable, as he failed to score a single goal in nine outings. But he made a strong comeback in the next campaign where he registered five goals and an assist in six appearances. CK Vineeth scored 11 goals in 44 games for the Tuskers before moving to East Bengal.
Blessed with incredible pace, the Kannur native is a versatile player who has played in as many as seven different positions on the pitch.
Iain Hume, Kerala Blasters’ first superstar
If one has to ask a Kerala Blasters fan about Iain Hume’s impact, the only words to describe him would be an ‘ageless icon.’ Whenever he held the ball in a Kerala shirt, the crowd would shout ‘Humettan' - the Keralites' way of addressing a person as a brother.
Iain Hume, who had two spells with the Kochi-based club, is remembered as a tireless worker who embodied the hopes of the Kerala faithful. In the inaugural edition, the Canadian registered four goals and two assists to walk away with the Hero of the League award.
In 28 appearances for Kerala Blasters, Iain Hume registered 10 goals and three assists and is fondly remembered as the first player to score an ISL hat-trick.
These players may not be playing for Kerala Blasters in the ISL anymore, but their legacy makes them the best players in the club’s folklore.
Jordan Murray, who joined Kerala Blasters after two seasons with A-League’s Central Coast Mariners, has scored seven goals in 18 appearances in the ISL 2020-21 season. Needless to say, the Australian is in the running to be adjudged the best player in Kerala Blasters.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / KeralaBlasters