Maya Murali, the housewife who adores Kerala Blasters and cherishes football

Since the inception of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL), Kerala Blasters FC have built a strong fanbase who proudly call themselves the 'the 12th man of Kerala Blasters’. Among these fans is Maya Murali, a housewife from Kochi.

Over the years, Maya has become the face of Kerala’s huge fan base. Maya is affectionately called Mayechi by players of the Kochi-based club. A mother of two boys, Maya is not active on any social media and does not have any of the qualities of a sports fan. However, she is still considered synonymous to the Blasters fanbase.

Maya’s admiration for the Blasters dates back to the beginning of the Hero ISL. She has been supporting Kerala Blasters FC since its inception in 2014. Moreover, Maya is a big fan of not only just Kerala Blasters but also of former captain of the Blasters, Sandesh Jhingan. She has built a friendship with many players of the team.

She always supported her favourite team and players by raising her voice and chanting slogans as part of the Yellow Sea at the East Gallery, attending all the home matches at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kaloor.

Having attended the team’s home matches in the first season, Maya became a part of the Yellow Sea as well as a fierce Blasters fan from the second season onwards. She has watched most of the home matches played in Kochi and minimum two away matches of Blasters every season.

Maya shared a few experiences that she has had over the years, “The penalty shootout loss against ATK FC in the final of the third season was an unforgettable experience. I still remember leaving the stadium with tears in my eyes. Another memorable experience was my first meeting with Sandesh Jhingan, the former Blasters captain. I keep all those memories like a treasure.”

With ATK Mohun Bagan FC having secured the signing of Jhingan, Maya bemoaned his loss and hopes to see him at the club in the future. “The news of Jhingan leaving Blasters team was unbelievable. I want Jhingan to come back and put on that yellow jersey again. I still maintain a warm relationship with Jhingan.”

Having attending all of Kerala’s home matches, Maya is disappointed that she will not be able to attend any of matches this season. However, she is hopeful of a successful season and is also planning some online events to welcome the new Hero ISL season with #KeralaBlasters_12th_Player group, one of the fan communities of Kerala Blasters FC.

Maya believes that football transcends caste, religion, colour and politics and that it demolishes all divisive walls. With the 2020-21 season closing in, she is looking forward to a wonderful season ahead, both for the Hero ISL and for Kerala Blasters. Maya has high hopes for the club’s new head coach Kibu Vicuna, and like every other Blasters fan, she believes that this time the result will be relatively good.

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