Kerala Blasters have had their say in the Indian Super League draft event held at The St. Regis Hotel in Mumbai today. Local boy Rino Anto, wideman Jackichand Singh and midfielder Milan Singh were the eye-catching picks from the Yellow Army at the draft.
Rino Anto, who featured in the list for most expensive defenders at the ISL draft, was the very first player to be picked by Blasters for a whopping ₹63 lakhs.
After starting out with some local flavour in round three, Blasters then chose to bring in India U-23 skipper Lalruatthara to strengthen their defence. Midfielders Milan Singh and Arata Izumi were also drafted in before the Sachin Tendulkar co-owned outfit settled on Subhashish Roy Chowdhury as their Indian goalkeeper.
Round eight saw the Yellow Army spend big again, as pacy winger Jackichand Singh was picked for ₹55 lakhs. Blasters then went on to add several worthy additions in Siam Hangal, Pritam Kumar Singh and Samuel Shadap before bringing the draft to an end with Lokem Meitei, Karan Sawhney and Ajith Sivan.
Lalthakima and Lokem Meitei are the two mandatory developmental players picked by last season's runners up.
Kerala Blasters, who had reached the final of the tournament in two of the first three seasons, have roped in former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's close confidante Rene Meulensteen as their new coach.
The Yellow Army boasts one of the biggest fan bases in the country and will look to go one step further and clinch the trophy this time around. They conceded defeat following a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out in the final of the tournament last season against ATK.
The club had earlier retained striker CK Vineeth and defender Sandesh Jhingan apart from youngster Prashanth Karuthadathkuni ahead of today's draft.