Kochi, 24th February: The stage is set for the highly anticipated match between Calicut Heroes and Kochi Blue Spikers to take place in the second season of RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23. The two teams, based out of Kerala, will be facing each other on Saturday in front of a jam-packed Kochi crowd at the Regional Sports Centre, Kochi. The anticipation is high among fans for the Kerala derby and among players, there is much excitement as well.

"We know Kochi and Calicut Heroes have a sporting rivalry because they are the local teams in Kerala. It is a crucial game for both teams. More than winning or losing, this game we want to give the fans a good game. Because, Kerala people have been waiting for this match for a long time," Calicut Heroes Universal Jerome Vinith said.

On being asked if he would be feeling any pressure, Vinith said: "We do not feel pressure, in fact, we are feeling quite good. We know a lot of fans will come and it will give us more energy. We like to play these kinds of matches."

Without revealing too much about their strategies, Jerome spoke on the areas that his team has been focusing on ahead of the crucial encounter. "We are not changing our strategies but we are focused more on the reception of the ball. We are also watching our opponents closely, how they have been playing, and what are their strengths. That is what we have been working on," he said.

Meanwhile, Kochi Blue Spikers captain Vipul Kumar spoke on the upcoming encounter and said that his side has to win in front of the home fans.

"We have been training with Calicut Heroes' strengths in mind. We will not be heading into the match worrying about whether we will go to the playoffs or not, but we know we have to win the match at any cost. We have to deliver at our home ground in front of our fans. We have to give our maximum efforts and we are planning according to that," he said.

Despite the pressure of the contest, Vipul further added that he will look forward to enjoying the support from the crowd. "There is always the pressure of a derby game. But as players, we have to be mentally strong and know how to handle the pressure. We will definitely win this match," he said.

"The crowd will be completely full. The fans in Kerala are known for their entertainment and they make a lot of noise. We will enjoy the atmosphere and enjoy the match," Vipul signed off.

The RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23 will be telecast LIVE on Sony Sports Ten 1 (English), Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi), Sony Sports Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu) & Sony Sports Ten 2 (Malayalam) channels in India and will be streamed on Volleyball World TV outside the Indian subcontinent, starting February 4, Saturday.

For all match statistics, click here: here.