Kerala Blasters owner Nikhil Bhardwaj's convincing words helped Nishu Kumar put pen to paper on a long-term contract at the Kochi-based Indian Super League (ISL) club.
The two-time ISL finalists are yet to taste success in Indian football but the former Bengaluru FC full-back was on board with the club's vision.
Nishu told Goal, "Kerala Blasters are a big team. They have suffered in recent years. I spoke with the owner (Nikhil Bhardwaj), they are building a team for the future. I am very happy about the fact that they are signing young players. I am very positive about the future."
After having featured in the first team consistently for Bengaluru in the last two seasons, Nishu is hopeful to make a similar impact under new head coach Kibu Vicuna in the upcoming season. The defender from Uttar Pradesh made his debut for the national team earlier this year and regular minutes will be important for his chances at being called up to Igor Stimac's camp again.
"If you want to be part of the national team, you have to play regularly at your club. I don't think it will be easy for me next year to be in the playing eleven, there will be tough competition. But I have to be in the first team, I will fight for it and to get into the national team camp again."
Blasters' large fanbase in an attractive proposition for a lot of players. Several foreign and Indian players have expressed their desire to play in front of the Blasters faithful in recent years and Nishu is not new to the sporting atmosphere created by supporters. Fans of his former club share an intense and sometimes toxic off-the-field rivalry with those of Blasters and the player is awed by the competition.
He recollected. "I remember, last year when we played against Kerala Blasters at the Kanteerava Stadium, more than half of the stadium was covered in yellow. It was a great game and both sets of fans were amazing."
Nishu will now to wait a while before he gets to play in front of the sea of yellow in Kochi which is very much inlikely this season because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the face-off between Kerala and Bengaluru has gotten more interesting.