Super League Kerala: Everything football fans need to know

6 franchises will figure in the league scheduled to start early September

Super League Kerala The inaugural Super League Kerala will take place in September | Facebook

Football in Kerala, famed for its top-class talent pool and ardent fan following, is poised to enter an exciting new phase with the announcement of the franchisees of the long-awaited Super League Kerala (SLK).

The six franchises that will figure in season one of the league scheduled to start early September, are Kochi Pipers FC, Calicut FC, Thrissur Roar FC, Kannur Squad FC, Thiruvananthapuram Kombans FC, and Malappuram FC, a press statement said here on Sunday.

Franchise owners and co-owners include: Legendary tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi, CEO, SGSE of APL Apollo (Kochi Pipers FC), Kaz Patafta, Chairman and CEO of Brisbane Roar FC, Benoit Joseph of Magnus Sports and Mohammed Rafeeq of Nusym Technologies (Thrissur Roar FC).

M P Hassan Kunhi, Director of Kannur International Airport Ltd, Mibu Jose Nettikadan, Managing Director of Castle Group, Doha, Praveesh Kuzhuppilly, Director of Asset Homes and Shameem Backer, promoter of Wayanad FC (Kannur Squad FC).

Travancore Princess Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, Dr Mohamed Ilyas Sahadulla, CMD of KIMS Hospital, K C Chandrahasan, MD, Kerala Travels, and T J Mathews, Co-owner, Kovalam FC (Thiruvananthapuram Kombans FC).

VA Ajmal Bismi, MD, Bismi Group, Dr. Anvar Ameen Chelat, SAT Tirur FC and Grand Hypermarkets, and Baby Neelambra, President, Saudi Indian Football Forum (Malappuram FC), and Tech entrepreneur and Chairman, IBS Group, VK Mathews (Calicut FC) are also among the owners and co-owners of the franchise, it said.

The meticulously planned SLK is poised to generate numerous opportunities across sectors such as sports and entertainment, retailing business, tourism, leisure, travel, and hospitality, benefitting the six chosen regions and their surrounding areas, it said.

Over 100 talented youngsters from Kerala selected by SLK team owners would receive world-class exposure, paving the way for their further ascent in Indian and international football.

SLK is certain to redefine the football activities of the state in a big way in the coming years, Kerala Minister of Sports, V Abdurahiman said at the introduction ceremony of the six franchisees on Friday.

SLK CEO Mathew Joseph said stadiums and venues were chosen keeping in mind a fair spread of accessibility for football fans.

"The selected venues will promise an unparalleled and unprecedented experience for spectators," he said.

The league will showcase promising talents from Kerala and football-loving regions across Asia, Europe, and South America, he said.

Kerala Football Association (KFA) president Navas Meeran said though Kerala has been regarded as a traditional powerhouse of Indian football, football fans in the state are yet to experience the fervour and excitement akin to what is experienced across Latin America or Europe.

"Currently, in an ambitious initiative aimed at promoting football and attracting more talent across Kerala, over 5,000 upcoming players are undergoing training and competitions in five groups for the Chakola Trophy tournament," he said.

This is held as part of the Kerala Football Association's (KFA) Kerala Youth Development Project, Meeran said adding that under this project, boys selected from the districts will be given free coaching throughout the year with the help of SLK franchisees.

Hibi Eden MP, MLAs TJ Vinod, and PV Sreenijan, U Sharafali, President of Kerala Sports Council, and Australia's Consul General (in Chennai) Silai Zaki were among those present during the function. 


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