Kochi, September 21

K

erala Blasters FC assistant coach Frank Dauwen stated that his team is well prepared to face Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League 2023-24's opening game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Thursday.

Kerala Blasters FC will start the season from scratch as they are going to face Bengaluru FC, against whom they have a history in the ISL. Kerala Blasters FC have won three of their last 14 games against Bengaluru FC. The Blues have failed to win their last two away games in Kochi against the Yellow Army, as per ISL's press release.

Bengaluru FC have won each of their last two games against Kerala Blasters FC in the ISL with an identical 1-0 scoreline. Under head coach Ivan Vukomanovic, the Tuskers have scored four goals in five ISL games against the Blues, for an average of 0.8 goals per game.

"We have prepared well, and we've had good training in the last 2-3 weeks. I feel the team is ready for Thursday's game. The start of the pre-season wasn't ideal, with injuries and players away on national team duty. But this is a common challenge for many teams this year. On Thursday, you'll see us fighting with everything we have," Dauwen who will be in charge of KBFC for the game against the Blues as Vukomanovic is unavailable due to his suspension, stated.

The ISL Cup remains elusive for KBFC, as the three-time runners-up have yet to lift the ISL Cup. Under Vukomanovic, they have consecutively made it to the playoffs for the last two seasons, which was a first in their history.

The assistant coach remained modest when assessing his team's chances this season as he feels the season will be open with a lot of teams capable of clinching the big title.

"It's difficult to answer. Teams like Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Mumbai City FC, Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, and Odisha FC have made good transfers. The competition is getting tougher this season," Dauwen said, speaking about the tight competition.

ISL has witnessed some serious rivalry between the two southern clubs. Thursday's clash will have no shortage of action and thrills. Both teams have identical records in their opening matches and have registered four wins in the ISL in their opening game of the season.

"Yes, I'm very excited for Thursday because this is the first time, I'm playing for KBFC in front of these energetic fans. I'm ready, and my team is ready. I'll give my best to help us win the ISL Cup; that's my aim," veteran defender Pritam Kotal said in the pre-match press conference.

Bengaluru FC have won each of their last four away games in the ISL. They have never recorded such a long winning streak in the history of the competition. The Blasters will have their task cut out against the Blues' strikeforce which has a good blend of experience and youth.

"The defence feels strong, and we need to maintain that focus both during training and off the field. We've played 2-3 friendly matches together, and we're more confident. Starting the season well is our target," Kotal said when speaking about their preparation.

We'll fight with everything we have: Kerala Blasters FC's assistant coach Frank Dauwen

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