Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters have opted for a few weeks in the Spanish sunshine as they prepare for the third season off the Indian Super League.
The side, managed by former Manchester United coach Rene Muelensteen, have opted for the southern Spanish resort of Marbella to get themselves ready for what they hope will be a successful season.
In previous preseasons, the Blasters have headed to Thailand to prepare themselves but this season, their first under the Dutch coach, is already feeling a little different.
The squad, minus their Indian national team players and former England international Wes Brown, arrived at Malaga Airport this week and training is already underway.
The favourable climate at this time of year in the south of Spain makes Marbella a fine option for many professional teams, and Kerala Blasters will be taking on some of the local Segunda B sides to get the match fitness up.
Kerala kick off their season on November 17, when they will face ATK in their opening showdown.
FC Goa are also in Spain, four hours up the coast from Kerala. Sergio Lobera’s team will be based in Murcia as they look to gel as quickly as possible.
Lobera commented after his first session,
“I am very happy with this team and with the attitude of the players and the effort they have put in today.”
“We look forward to playing a style of football that will be enjoyable to watch and that is what the focus will be on during the training period. As a team, we look forward to winning.”
Bruno Pinheiro is back at FC Goa having played for the club in the first season of ISL.
“I always wanted to come back to Goa and play for this club. I love this place and this team. However, it wasn’t possible to do so earlier.”
“But things worked out this time and I jumped at the chance to come back to Goa. I am familiar with a few of the boys, like Narayan, Mandar and Kattimani who have been here from the start. From what I have seen at training, I believe we have a good team to compete to win the ISL title.”
Winger Mandar Rao Desai had some time training in Spain last season, so is already familiar with the preseason training conditions and the coaching style, saying
“It was an excellent training session under the new coach. I trained in Spain with Villareal last year and noticed that Coach Lobera’s style tecniques are similar to what I experienced in Spain. I’m excited about the new season and look forward to the months ahead”
FC Pune’s CEO Guarav Model is delighted at the prospect of a longer league season. The ISL has been extended this season, and Model believes this shows more of a commitment to clubs than in the previous two season. Model is now happy to build a team for the longer term as he is confident that the league is here to stay, saying
“We have players who are raring to go on a stage like ISL and prove a point. At the same time, our Academy’s progress is also a good sign for us. The entire eco-system we had envisioned is falling in place one by one. Our Academy players are rising up the ranks and don’t be surprised to see a few of them making it to the main team in the seasons to come.”
The ISL kicks off in just over one month.