Kerala Blasters FC midfielder Fedor Cernych has set his sights on securing the top position in the Indian Super League (ISL) with his new club. The Lithuanian captain, signed by Kerala Blasters FC in January from Cypriot club AEL Limassol, has committed to the club until the end of the 2023-24 season.

As of now, the Blasters lead the ISL table with 26 points from 12 games, maintaining a two-point advantage over FC Goa, who will face Hyderabad FC on Thursday.

Despite a strong start to the season, winning eight out of 12 games, Kerala Blasters FC faces challenges in the second half due to the absence of key players Adrian Luna and Kwame Peprah, both ruled out for the season. Despite these setbacks, Cernych remains determined, aiming for nothing less than securing the top spot in the league.

“For sure the season until now is going very well. It's very sad that some of the key players are injured now who were helping the team very much but as I saw in the training.. I had one training (session), but I saw a lot of quality in all of the players. It could be really (nice if) we can continue like this and hopefully end the season in the first place,” he said in an interview with Kerala Blasters FC. 

Cernych brings a wealth of experience, having showcased his skills both at the club and national levels. He has played in various leagues, including those in Belarus, Poland, Russia, and Cyprus. Notably, he represented Dynamo Moscow for two seasons from 2018 to 2020 during his stint in Russia. At the international stage, Cernych boasts over 80 caps for the Lithuanian senior team.

Interestingly, Cernych's introduction to Kerala Blasters FC came through former player Josu, who had previously played for KBFC in 2015. The Lithuanian captain and Josu were teammates at the Polish club Gornik Leczna. Additionally, Cernych mentioned that he received positive insights about the league from his compatriot, Nerijus Valskis, who previously played for Chennaiyin FC and Jamshedpur FC.

“To be honest, I already knew something about the league because a lot of years ago, if you remember Josu, one Spanish guy, was playing here. I was playing with him in Poland and we were speaking maybe seven years ago when we were speaking about Kerala Blasters FC or something. He was always positive about the place, about the fans, about everything,” he recalled.

“I also spoke a lot with Nerijus Valskis, who was here in India for three years I think. He also was really positive about the country, everything and he was also positive about me coming here. He told me a lot of good things about the country but when I got the offer, it was not the first time because with Karolis Skinkys, I was already speaking maybe already three or four times for me to come here to India (in the past) but I had before other options to go somewhere else so I was choosing these options, but now I think time has come and I'm at Kerala Blasters FC.”

Cernych also discussed the overwhelming love and support he received from Kerala Blasters FC fans on social media following his signing. He shared that even back in Lithuania, some media outlets became aware that his fan base on Instagram had significantly increased.

“A lot of Lithuanian programs and newspapers were writing that now.. I think I'm the third Sportsman in Lithuania with the biggest crowd (following on Instagram). Only two NBA players have more than me so that was a really nice thing to see. I really appreciate that - the support of the fans that were following that almost everybody was writing (about) me (back home). I was scrolling (on Instagram) every second (since signing) and you see 10 more, 10 more messages. It was amazing when I came to Instagram. And I already heard that Kerala Blasters FC fans are the best for sure,” he revealed.

The midfielder is poised to make his first appearance for Kerala Blasters FC in the upcoming league game against Odisha FC. However, he'll have to exercise patience until Matchweek 15 when the Blasters host Punjab FC, providing him with the opportunity to experience playing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, the team's home ground. Cernych has expressed his eagerness to play in front of the fans in Kaloor and relish the vibrant atmosphere.

“I didn't see the stadium until now, I didn't feel it myself but I'm waiting for like (to see) the amazing atmosphere. I want this to happen today, tomorrow or as fast as this can be but I have really heard a lot about this now. I want to witness what will happen there,” he signed off.