Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters will kick-start their pre-season training in Ahmedabad later this week, Goal can confirm. The training sessions in Ahmedabad will be followed by friendlies against Melbourne City and Girona FC in Kochi on July 24th and 28th respectively.
The Kochi-based side, coached by former Liverpool goalkeeper David James, have already secured the signatures of six foreign players namely Cyril Kali, Slavisa Stojanovic, Matej Poplatnik, Courage Pekuson, Keziron Kizito and Nemanja Lakic-Pesic.
While three foreign players from last season were retained, Dimitar Berbatov, Iain Hume, Paul Rachubka, Wes Brown and Victor Pulga have all left the club. The 2018-19 season of ISL allows only seven foreign players in the squad as opposed to eight last season.
The club has also roped in several Kerala-born players to strengthen the core of the team. Keralites Anas Edathodika, Zakeer Mundampara, Jithin MS and Abdul Hakku will join other new Indian recruits such as Halicharan Narzary, Seiminlen Doungel, Naveen Kumar and Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem.
David James took charge of the team in January and led them to a sixth-place finish in the league. The upcoming pre-season tournament, which involves La Liga side Girona FC and A-League side Melbourne City, is seen as a good challenge for Blasters as they look to mount a title challenge in the 2018-19 season of ISL.