LUCA SOCCER CLUB FROM Malappuram are looking to enter the I-League through the corporate bid process.
Days after AIFF issued an invitation for bids for entry into the I-League, multiple suitors have already emerged seeking a place in the competition, including Sudeva FC and FC Bengaluru United. Now Luca Soccer Club, too, are keen to throw their hat in the ring.
Established in 2017, the club is owned by Navas KV and Musthafa Kamal. The former also served as the head coach in their debut campaign at the Kerala Premier League. Placed in the same group as Gokulam Kerala FC and Kerala Blasters FC Resesrves, an all-Keralite LSC team with a squad average age of 22 finished third; 1 point short of earning a place in the semi-finals. They were also the only club to beat Gokulam Kerala FC in the group stage.
Speaking to TFG, club CEO Waivaw Srivastav said,
"Malappuram is the football capital of Kerala. Last season, we played our matches at the Kotappadi Football Stadium. This season we are trying to get hold of the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri."
The 30,000 capacity Payyanad Stadium is a former home ground of Gokulam Kerala FC and has played host to national level football before; when it hosted almost half the games of Federation Cup 2014-15. Despite many afternoon kick-offs, the games saw high turnout and almost every match was sold out.
LSC also have an U-18 side that participates in the U-18 Kerala Academy League.
The club expects to pick up the I-League bid documents by the end of this week. If they are successful, I-League will see two clubs from Kerala take the field in a callback to the old NFL-era rivalry between FC Kochin and State Bank of Travancore.
Further stoking the hype around the potential 'Malabar Derby', the official Twitter account of Gokulam Kerala FC reacted to this news shortly after it was broken by TFG, praising Luca Sports Club and welcoming the idea of the two playing against each other in the I-League.
???????? Arguably one of the toughest teams we have played in KPL, joining I league will be a gift for Indian football. ???????????????? https://t.co/ggm0VlsGHf