Having relocated to Kozhikode for the Hero Super Cup, Kerala Blasters FC began their season against Hero I-League champions RoundGlass Punjab FC at the EMS Stadium on Saturday. The Blasters are arguably the most well-known football team in God's Own Country.

As they begin their Hero Super Cup campaign, the Blasters, who had advanced to the Hero ISL play-offs before losing to Bengaluru FC in a contentious game, will be searching for retribution, which will certainly be on the cards when they play in front of their home support.

Kerala Blasters FC’s Assistant Coach Ishfaq Ahmed believes that his side is in a tough group, and the players will need to pull up their socks in order to negotiate their way to the semi-finals.

“We have come with a positive frame of mind and will try to reach the last round of the Hero Super Cup. It’s very important that we start the tournament on a positive note and then move on from there,” assistant coach Ahmed stated.

“Sreenidi Deccan FC, RoundGlass Punjab FC, and Bengaluru FC are all good teams, and we need to put our best foot forward against them all. The most important thing is that we start the tournament on a good note. If you want to be one of the best teams, you must beat the best teams out there,” he added.

When quizzed about the opponents, Ishfaq heaped praise on the Hero I-League champions.

“They are the Hero I-League champions, and of course they are a great team. We have all the respect in the world for them, but we will look to play good football to our best potential,” he said.

The Hero Super Cup has not yet started, but the talk of the town is already about the support that Kerala Blasters would enjoy, even if they were around five hours north of their traditional home.

“I have myself played here in Kerala many times before, and have always enjoyed good support here. I’d love to see the Yellow Army here supporting us in numbers. It’s always great to see fans around,” Ahmed said.

RoundGlass Punjab, with their win in the Hero I-League, are now looking forward to promotion to the Hero ISL, and head coach Staikos Vergetis believes that this is a good opportunity for his side to measure up against the teams from the top tier.

“The Hero Super Cup will be a good test for the boys. We want to see how much distance we still have to cover in order to reach that level. Kerala Blasters will be a strong unit to play against, and the match against them will show us how much we need to improve and how our levels are,” the head coach Vergetis commented.

The Greek coach erred on the side of discipline with his boys, in order to progress from Group A.

“We won the Hero I-League almost a month ago, so we need to make sure that we are disciplined and maintain focus,” he said. We have some very competitive games ahead, and they will be a measure of how strong we are against these teams,” he concluded.

RoundGlass Punjab’s match against Kerala Blasters will kick off at 8.30 PM IST and will be broadcast and streamed live on the Sony Sports Network and FanCode, respectively.