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first_imgKerala Blasters FC (KBFC) play ATK in the Indian Super League (ISL) season 5 opener at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.KBFC head coach and former England goalkeeper David James said that even though Sachin Tendulkar sold off his 20 per cent stakes in the team, the cricket legend will always be associated with the club.James though termed Tendulkar’s parting ways with KBFC as “shame in some ways”, adding that he is still in touch with the cricket legend.”In some sense of course it’s a shame because you want everything to remain the same. Evolution does take place, people will go but football club will always survive,” James told reporters in the pre-match press conference on the eve of the ISL opener.”He is one of the most wonderful men I’ve met in sporting world. We had a very honest conversation about principle and philosophies, human factor rather than just football. His name will always be linked with Kerala Blasters because this blasters is essentially his nickname, the coach said further.”The (infrastructure) of the club is a thing of legacy that you leave behind not just the name. I’ve had conversations with him since he departed. I’ve had very good terms and wish him all the best,” said James.Asked about the Kerala floods recently, James said the club has some plans to give back to the state adding he cannot spill the beans at the moment.”The one thing I have fallen in love with since my first trip to India in 2014 is the spirit of the people in Kerala. I have loved India as a whole but being positioned in Kerala, the spirit of the state and fans is important,” James said.advertisementHere are some images of the official kit launch event from last night!#KeralaBlasters #NewYellowIsInTown #NewSeason #HeroISL pic.twitter.com/JJrMbSbLC9Kerala Blasters FC (@KeralaBlasters) September 27, 2018″It’s a very difficult thing to say that we are going to try harder because the thing about Kerala spirit is the amount they try. We are very conscious of what happened as a football club,” the 48-year old former Liverpool goalkeeper said adding: “There will be some evidence beyond people turning out for football matches.”Kerala this time, have among others, highly rated young keeper Dheeraj Singh, who performed well for India in the U-17 World Cup last year.Dheeraj had attracted offers from clubs outside India. After a trial stint at Scottish club Motherwell FC, Dheeraj trained with English Premier Club Bournemouth before putting pen to paper with Kerala.James though made it clear that the 17-year old might not get a game under him and has to prove his credentials in training in order to earn a first team spot.”My expectations from him are same as any other. There is no guarantee that he will ever play any match for KBFC under me,” the head coach said.Here’s the fun our lads had at the team photo-shoot!#KeralaBlasters #BehindTheScenes #HeroISL pic.twitter.com/ptp30q4OxrKerala Blasters FC (@KeralaBlasters) September 27, 2018Sitting beside James was club captain and India defender Sandesh Jhingan and when asked to react on the Indian Under-16 team making it to their maiden AFC Championship quarter-final, he said: “It’s a great achievement. I am following them. These are really good results and they have showed consistency. Everybody should back them. My best wishes to them.”Kerala finished sixth last term and saw coach Rene Muelensteen being removed with James taking over midway.The Kochi-based franchise finished runners-up twice, in 2014 and 2016.(With inputs from IANS)last_img read more