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aaTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kochi-based Indian Super League franchise, co-owned by Sachin Tendulkar and Hyderabad-based media baron Prasad V Potluri, has been christened Kerala Blasters Football Club.

Chief minister Oommen Chandy announced the name after a 30-minute meeting with Tendulkar and Potluri on Tuesday morning.

“People used to call me master blaster. I’m supporting Kerala … Kochi team. I hope the entire Kerala will be behind our football team. That’s why we thought of naming it as Kerala Blasters FC,” Tendulkar said.

“I grew up playing cricket but very few know that I enjoyed playing other sports too, such as hockey, badminton, table tennis and football. In the Indian team and Mumbai Indians team, we used to play football during the warm-up session. It used to be so competitive that we were forced to stop it fearing injury.”

The cricket legend also spoke about the state of Kerala football.

“In the eighties, I remember that the national football team used to have a number of Kerala players. Compared to that, sad to say, not a single Kerala player is representing our nation now.”

“We hope to change the face of Indian football… I know that just my face alone will not change it overnight. We would like to encourage football in schools and college,” he said, seeking the support of the media for the club endeavours.

The launch of the club was held at the government secretariat here. Tendulkar had a brief meeting with opposition leader V S Achuthanandan too before leaving for Kochi.

Team to train 1.25L students!

KBFC has promised to train 1.25 lakh students in the coming years, chief minister Oommen Chandy said. “The club has agreed to train students in the state. They will select the schools and train 1.25 lakh students. All expenses will borne by the club,” he said.

Sachin turns goodwill envoy

Sachin Tendulkar will be the goodwill ambassador for the National Games, to be held in the state in January-February 2015, Chandy announced in his speech. “It’s such a huge honour for me. I’ll be more than happy to accept it and promote sports in India,” Tendulkar said.