5 Key Players for Kerala Blasters in Season 5 of the Indian Super League

Two time Indian Super League finalists, Kerala Blasters will head into the new season with hope of finally going all the way to win the tournament this season.

In the last few seasons, the yellow brigade has grown in size and stature, much credited to their insane fan-base.

Signs are looking good for Kerala this season. Here are five players who could prove to be extremely important for their ambitions in the ISL....

5. Anas Edathodika

Born and brought up in Malappuram in Kerala, Anas Edathodika is one of the absolute fan favourites among Kerala Blasters' fans. 

The 31-year-old centre-back started his ISL journey way back in 2015 for Delhi Dynamos when he made the most clearances from defence than any other player in the league that season.

Last season was one to forget for Anas as he featured just six times in the starting line-up after signing for Jamshedpur. Kerala took great initiative in bringing him back to his roots and he will definitely look to pay them back for their trust in him.

Anas played 546 minutes in the 2016-17 ISL season in which he made 20 tackles, four interceptions, 23 clearances and 12 blocks. If he is consistent with his fitness this season, Anas could prove to be the trump card for the Blasters. 

4. CK Vineeth

One of the biggest footballing stars in South India atleast, CK Vineeth has been instrumental in everything that has been great about Kerala Blasters in the past few seasons of the ISL.

Despite having a disappointing debut season back in 2015, Vineeth was the star of the ISL 2016 edition after scoring five goals and becoming the highest scoring Indian that season.

Vineeth has scored nine goals for the Blasters in his career, which makes him the second highest goalscorer in the club's history after Iain Hume, who scored ten. With Hume joining Pune this season, Vineeth will take centre stage in Kerala and probably show immense growth in stature.

3. Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem

India's young goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh will be getting the opportunity of a lifetime under experienced coach and former England goalkeeper David James.

The 18-year-old is tipped to be one of the brightest goalkeeping talents India has ever produced. Dheeraj has no prior ISL experience but that where James will come into the picture and guide him on to become a vital part of a senior team at a very young age.

Expect some blockbuster moments if Dheeraj is given an opportunity to shine this season.

2. Sandesh Jhingan

Probably the biggest fan favourite in the Indian Super League, Indian national team's defender Sandesh Jhingan will lead the Kerala Blasters' side yet again this season. 

The centre-back has been the heartbeat of this club since he joined them back after spending three seasons of gaining vital experience on loan Sporting Club De Goa, DSK Shivajians and Bengaluru FC.

Jhingan has made 58 appearances for Kerala and 26 appearances for the Indian national team. He will definitely be the player that the whole team will look up to for inspiration this season.

Last season, Jhingan played 17 games in the ISL and while he was impressive throughout the tournament, an overall disappointing performance by the Blasters saw them end on sixth position in the standings.

1. Matej Poplatnik

Slovenian goal machine Matej Poplatnik agreed a long-term contract with Kerala Blasters in June this year.

The 26-year-old forward was the third foreign signing made by the Blasters after Slavisa Stojanovic and Cyril Kali. 

Poplatnik scored a massive 46 goals in 68 games for his previous club Triglav Kranj and fans will expect him to fill the gap left by Kerala's all-time top scorer Iain Hume.