Kerala Blasters FC have made a statement signing in the latest transfer window with the acquisition of former Mohun Bagan Super Giant captain, Pritam Kotal.

Kotal was an influential figure in the MBSG squad last season when he led his side to win the Indian Super League (ISL) title at the expense of Bengaluru FC. He is one of the most committed players on the side, but his move to the Blasters came as a surprise to many.

In a recent episode of the In The Stands show hosted by Suyash Upadhyaya, Kotal has cleared the air about why he decided to leave the Mariners and join Kerala Blasters FC.

“Last season was difficult for us, but despite that, we (Mohun Bagan Super Giant) won the title. It was the first time that I won a trophy as a captain, and that too while wearing the Mohun Bagan Super Giant jersey. It was a big achievement for me,” he told .

“But suddenly, there was a movement. At that time, my only thought was – this is a new challenge for me because I had already played in Kolkata for a long time,” Kotal revealed in the interview.

“I wanted to try new things, face new challenges, and experience a new atmosphere. And I’m feeling good being here. Let’s see what lies ahead of us!” he continued.

The 29-year-old has now left a substantial fanbase to join another, and the Kerala Blasters FC supporters are renowned for their unwavering support of the team. This support not only motivates the players but also exerts immense pressure on the opposing team.

Having been on the opposing side against Manjappada until now, Kotal is now enthusiastic about playing in front of them, playing for them, and basking in their warm welcome. He also discloses the difficulty that rivals face when playing at the Kerala Blasters' home ground.

“Whenever we entered, the atmosphere on the ground created by the drums and chants was very difficult for the opposition to contend with. The biggest problem used to be communicating with other players; it was so loud that we couldn't hear each other. You've to shout to make yourself heard. Even when the coach tried to say something, we couldn't hear anything,” he said.

“But now, I'll be playing here wearing the yellow jersey! I'm very excited about that. I can't wait for the first time I get to do it,” the defender added.

Kerala Blasters signed him from Mohun Bagan Super Giant precisely because he is a serial winner, brings vast experience, and carries that positive mindset both on and off the field. Being a three-time ISL champion, he understands how to establish himself within the team, and this quality has earned him a respected status in the dressing room at his previous clubs.

Kotal explained how he used to command respect in the MBSG dressing room, and he aims to replicate the same dynamic here at Kerala Blasters FC.

“If you were to ask anyone about how I was in the Mohun Bagan Super Giant dressing room, they would tell you that I used to be friendly and open, willing to speak to anyone about anything – their problems and more. This is because everyone has things going on in their lives, and I made an effort to listen and help solve them,” he said.

“However, now that I'm here, I'll need to understand the (perspective of the) players first. Then, gradually, by bringing everyone together, I want to create a positive environment in the dressing room,” the defender added further.

Kerala Blasters FC's management and fans are now eager to reintroduce that winning mentality of Kotal into their club.
The defender also believes that through hard work and collective team effort, they will be able to secure silverware for the club. He urges the fans to persist in their unwavering support for the club and fill the stadium in large numbers.

“I just want to say one thing to the KBFC fans – Winning or losing is not in our hands, that’s something that the one above has decided. But I guarantee that everyone will put in the effort, and I believe that if we put in 100% effort, the right approach, and go with a champion mentality, we can do something good,” he said.

“And for this, we need your support. So please come in numbers, support us, and we’ll put 100% of our effort on the ground. Something special will happen for sure!” Kotal signed off.