Gokulam Kerala FC have announced their 22-member squad for the 129 th edition of Durand Cup. Gokulam play Chennaiyin FC in the Group ‘D’ opener at Howrah Stadium on August 8.
The team reached Kolkata on August 4 and has been training there for the past few days.
“The squad is a good mixture of youngsters, local boys and experienced players. We have been training for three weeks and the players are getting tuned to my style. I think we have a good chance this time as we have quality players in all the departments,” said Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Santiago Varela.
“There are several quality players promoted from reserve team and the foreigners are also good. The local players are skilful and it is good to see so much of talent in the State. The morale of the players is excellent and they are eager to showcase their skills in this historic tournament,” he said.
There are nine Kerala players in the squad. Kerala boys, Salman K and goalkeeper Ajmal are injured and have not travelled with the squad. Another Kerala defender Alex Saji is travelling with the squad but did not make it into the 22-member squad.
In the squad, four players have been promoted from Gokulam’s Reserve Team. Shibil Mohammed, Sanju G, Mayakannan and Rahul KP were with Gokulam Kerala FC reserve team last year. In this Rahul KP’s is surprise inclusion as he impressed the Spanish coach during training.
Rahul KP is from Kasargod and played Santosh Trophy. The forward was instrumental in Kerala winning Santosh Trophy in 2018. “I feel good to be part of the main squad. I have joined the training camp recently and is learning a lot. I like to thank Gokulam Kerala FC for giving me such an opportunity. It is always good to team up with foreigners as we youngsters have a lot to learn,” said Rahul.
Gokulam have registered four foreigners also for the tournament. Along with last year’s stars Marcus Joseph and Andre Ettienne, Gokulam have signed Henry Kisekka and Bruno Pelissari
“We were able to assemble a good squad and we hope the team can excel in the tournament. We have fielded the best team. We want to bring back Durand Cup to Kerala after FC Kochin won the title in 1997,” said VC Praveen, Gokulam Kerala FC president.
Goalkeepers: Ubaid CK, Vigneshwaran Baskaran, Satyajit Bordoloi
Defenders: Sebastian Thangmuansang, Jestin George, G Sanju, Mohamed Irshad Thaivalappil, Andre Dennis Chaz Ettienne, Huidrom Naocha Singh, Mohammed Salah, Moirangmayum Ashok Singh
Midfielders: Bruno Augusto Pelissari De Lima, Shibil Muhammed, Mohammad Rashid, Mayakannan, Myron Mendes, Bijesh Balan
Forwards: Marcus Leric Jr Joseph, Henry Kisekka, Lalromawia, Rahul KP, Kshetrimayum Malemnganba Meitei