It was announced by Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy on May 27 after his meeting with Sachin Tendulkar that the Kochi team for the Indian Super League (ISL) is now named the Kerala Blasters. With Tendulkar often being referred to as the ‘Master Blaster’ for his batting skills on the pitch, the name for the team he co-owns couldn’t be more fitting.
“I grew up playing cricket [...] Very few people knew that I enjoy other sports like hockey, football and badminton,” Tendulkar said, noting that the ISL will undoubtedly help football’s popularity in the domestic market.
For a new league trying to rejuvenate the football fans of its country, involving a legend is a great first step. The league is set to kick off in September of 2014, but despite the popularity of the sport, domestic leagues just haven’t had much success in past years.
“Sachin is an icon of cricket not only in India but the world over and it is a great thing that he is now supporting football,” said V.S. Achuthanandan, an Indian politician who was Chief Minister of Kerala from 2006 to 2011.
The ISL will follow the model of the English Premier League (EPL) and the Indian Premier League (IPL) to have teams that represent the different states in India.
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Guwahati, Kochi, Pune and Goa are the eight cities which IMG-Reliance, the league’s promoters, sold. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has supported the ISL.