Jairo Rodrigues: Kerala feels like home

Kerala Blasters lock horns against ATK in the first match of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 on Sunday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. With Sandesh Jhingan's injury, the Kerala team will rely heavily on their new recruit Jairo Rodrigues and fans will hope that the Brazilian can strike up a fruitful partnership alongside Gianni Zuiverloon at the heart of Kerala's defence during the season.

Ahead of the big fixture, indiansuperleague.com caught up with Rodrigues for an exclusive chat. Here are the excerpts:

Your thoughts ahead of the first Hero ISL match.

I'm happy to be here, it's an amazing country, amazing people. I am in a big club here, it's a big experience for me because I made some friends who played last season in the Hero ISL. They told me very good things about the Hero ISL, about India, the fans, the football. I hope to have a good season.

On the support for Kerala Blasters in Kochi.

It's all about the fans. They're amazing. I met some fans in the mall and the airport. I know in the first match, a lot of people are going to be there. I'm very happy because it feels like my home in Brazil, even the people are like that and they love football. I hope to repay the affectionate with wins on the field.

On facing ATK in the opening match.

I know that ATK are a good team. They have good local and foreign players. I don't know too much about the foreign players but in the videos, I've seen they're good players. We will work hard, me and the other players, to stop the opposition and have a good strong match today.

How big a miss will Sandesh Jhingan be for Kerala Blasters?

We're very sad because he (Sandesh Jhingan) is one of the very good players in Kerala. I was hoping, he could help us in the season but now he's injured. But we also have Gianni (Zuiverloon), me and Abdul Hakku, so we can try and manage without him. But I hope he comes back strong because Kerala Blasters need him as soon as possible.

Read the Match Preview here.

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