Keziron Kizito, the eighth foreign player roped in by Indian Super League (ISL) club Kerala Blasters, has his eyes set on winning the rest of the games and climbing up the league table.
The midfielder from Uganda, who was last seen with AFC Leopards in the summer, said that he was attracted by how the fans treated players at the club. Manjappada (supporters of Kerala Blasters) are famous for giving nicknames to their favourite players. From Humettan (Iain Hume) to Renechayan (Rene Meulensteen), they love their footballers. The latest entry in that list is Kizito, who has been nicknamed 'Dude' after a popular character from a Malayalam movie.
"A lot of things [attracted me to Kerala Blasters]. Before joining the club, I had to look up the history. The players are legends here. That attracted me and the fans are amazing," said Kizito exclusively to Goal.
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"The squad is getting better. The squad is now strong. We are now working as a team," said Kizito who finally made his debut for the club after coming on as a half-time substitute in the game against Pune City in Kochi.
Kizito turned the game on its head in the second half and helped Blasters grab an equaliser in the 73rd minute to hold Pune to a 1-1 draw. Highlight reels of Kizito's second-half display started trending soon after the match, suggesting that the former Vipers midfielder had an immediate impact in Kerala.
"I think I had an impact on the game. I am looking forward to doing that in the coming games. I am happy for the fans' love," said Kizito.
The new recruit bossed the midfield and in the 73rd minute, split the Pune City defence with a terrific through-ball to pick out Courage Pekuson's run down the left flank. Pekuson then crossed for Mark Sifneos who sent the ball past Vishal Kaith and into the net.
"Courage [Pekuson and I]... we have a big relationship. We play in the [similar] position and come from the same place!" said Kizito, who had replaced Dimitar Berbatov at half-time with his team trailing by a goal at home. The player also recollected what coach David James told him before throwing him into the equation, "He told us to keep working. He told us that [the first-half performance] wasn't our best. He told us to be stronger than ever and to deliver."
It hasn't been an easy ride for Kerala Blasters this season. The club parted ways with Rene Meulensteen and roped in David James to improve results.
"There is no big difference [between Meulensteen and James]. Every coach has his [style of] play. This is football."
"I was feeling bad. I waited all this time to play. I was eager to play," said Kizito, who has been training with the squad since November. He had to wait until the ISL transfer window opened to officially don the Blasters kit but having experienced the atmosphere in Kochi, the midfielder would have felt that it was all worth the wait!
"The fans should keep it up. We have the most amazing fans in India," exclaimed Kizito.