Nishu Kumar made the big move from Bengaluru FC to Kerala Blasters this transfer window and he now looks forward to bringing glory to the Indian Super League franchise and its fans.
On July 22, 2020, Kerala Blasters made the announcement that they had landed Nishu Kumar, with the Muzaffarnagar lad set to earn five crore rupees across four seasons, News18.com learnt.
Nishu, in an e-mail interaction with News18.com, called the move to Kerala Blasters "one of the most important decisions" of his life and said he couldn't wait to "get on the field".
"I'm very happy and excited about my new journey with Kerala Blasters FC.
"Ever since the announcement, I received a lot of messages from fans, wishing me luck on this new journey. Like them, I'm equally excited and thrilled to wear the club colours and represent the team on the field," Nishu said.
As Sandesh Jhingan remains without a club at the moment, this move made Nishu the highest paid Indian defender and the 22-year-old feels it is the result of his hard work.
"Since the day I decided to become a professional footballer, I have always tried to give more than 100 per cent on the field: both in trainings and in matches.
"It is a result of my hard work, blessings of God and the support of my family and well-wishers that I am here with Kerala Blasters today."
THE TRANSFER STORY
With Jhingan gone from the Blasters setup, the club was looking to have Nishu as one of the centre-pieces of their rebuilding project and their "definitive" plan was what convinced Nishu to take the plunge.
(Photo Credit: Kerala Blasters Media)
News18.com had learnt that the Blasters management was sure that it wanted Nishu at the club and their plan did not change even when coach Kibu Vicuna replaced Eelco Schattorie.
"I received four to five offers from various clubs and KBFC was one of them. My discussions with the officials at Kerala Blasters FC helped me form up my decision.
"The club was very focused on their plans for the upcoming season and for the future as well, with a clear intent of building a sustainable and competitive team for the long run," Nishu explained.
Nishu said he has always been the one to look for new challenges and personal growth and having won everything at Bengaluru FC, this seemed like the right time for him to move to another project.
"Moreover, it is also a good opportunity for me to adapt to a different environment and lifestyle in a new city," he said.
Kerala Blasters are known for their fans. If there is one thing that sets the club apart from all the others in the ISL, it is their fan base. The Blasters are also the most followed Indian club on social media.
Nishu called the fans "loud and proud" and wished that he could have played in front of them in his first season.
ISL is set to adopt a single venue rule this season with either Kerala or Goa hosting the league. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no fans in the stadiums and a bio-secure environment will be created to make it as safe as possible for everyone associated.
The ISL is set to begin in November with the dates and venue expected to be announced soon.
"For the upcoming season, I hope to work hard and give my 100 per cent to the team to compete for the title. This club and its fans are well deserving for a decent position on the league table.
"I have witnessed the energy of the KBFC fans during my away matches at Kochi, they are always loud and proud. Although I would have loved to play in front of them in my first season at the club, staying safe and healthy are paramount during these tough times of the pandemic.
"The decisions taken by the league are only aimed at the safety of everyone and hence, we'll need to respect them."
FROM MUZAFFARNAGAR INTO THE BIG LEAGUE
Nishu comes from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. It is not a city essentially known for its football and Nishu said he did play cricket at some point. However, he was always football crazy.
"Uttar Pradesh isn't known for its football craze but luckily, there was a ground near to my house where I used to play. I participated in numerous local academy trials and then decided to choose football as a career."
Nishu said his parents were always very supportive of his passion for football. His family did face a "few financial issues" but it never affected his decision to become a professional footballer.
"I was confused about my career path at the age of 17-18, however, they were my motivation to choose sports as a profession. They've always understood my passion and inspired me to go for more," Nishu shared.
Nishu looked back at his journey and called it "wonderful", particularly representing India and winning all those titles at Bengaluru FC. However, he added that there was a long road ahead and "everyday is a new learning."
"As of now my entire focus is to give my best for the club and for the country. I want to win the ISL with Kerala Blasters and also, keep performing well for the nation, should I get a chance to represent in future."