I-League 2018-19 Team Profile - Gokulam Kerala FC

After getting themselves a nickname ‘Giant Killers’ in First Season, it is their turn to show that the Nickname was not given to them by luck. Gokulam Kerala FC is ready to start the season afresh under Bino George. The team has sacked Argentine Coach Fernando Santiago Valera and bring back the Former coach Bino George, before the I-league Season.

PREVIOUS SEASON PERFORMANCE
Coming in to I-league under Corporate bid, Gokulam Kerala FC had a much impressive First season under Bino George. They do not had a good start to their campaign. Injuries to their main foreign players had a great set back on their performance.

But during later half, signings of Ugandan duos ; Mudde Musa and Henry kisseka, and Bahrain Midfielder Mahmood Al Ajmi had positive impact on their performance. They have beat the title favourites ;East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Minerva Punjab FC in their way to earn themselves the name ‘Giant Killer FC’. Gokulam finished 7th in the table, missing out a direct qualification to Super Cup 2018.

They comfortably beat Northeast united FC in Qualifiers of Super Cup, but couldn’t go past Bengaluru FC in Pre-Quarter Finals, who went on Clinch the Title later.

PRESEASON
Gokulam Kerala FC had clinched the Kerala Premier League title in 2018 under Fernando Santiago Valera. They beat Quartz FC by 2 goals to win their maiden KPL Title.

The team then travelled to Goa for AWES Cup. The tournament doesn’t go well for Gokulam as they cannot go past the Group stage.
The Results in AWES Cup;
ONGC 4-1 GKFC
SCDG 1-1 GKFC
SESA FC 1-4 GKFC

They also played against Bengaluru FC, which they lost 4-1. They put up a very good show against FC Pune City, but couldn’t get the victory as they lost by 3-2. They went on to beat ATK Reserve side in a Friendly. Back at home, they defeated Kerala Police comfortably by 6 goals to end their Preseason friendlies.

TRANSFERS
Ugandan Striker, who was instrumental in Gokulam’s success later in the league had left to join Mohun Bagan. Goal Keepers; Nikhil Bernard and Bilal Khan had Joined Chennaiyin FC and Real Kashmir FC respectively. Last year’s stand out performers ; Provot Lakra and Kivi zhimomi are roped in by Northeast United FC.

Experienced Arnab Das and Shibin Raj will be handling Goal keeping department. Mohammed Rashid, Arjun Jayaraj and Salman K are retained in midfield. Young Ghani Ahmed and Jishnu Balakrishnan are roped in from ISL sides. They have added enough local talents, who will be eager to showcase their talents. Among Foreigners, Former Kerala Blasters player Antonio German will lead the attack line. They have retained the services of Daniel Addo and Mudde Musa for another year. They had many other exciting foreign talents, who bolster the squad.

SQUAD
Gokulam are equipped with a well looking side, which had a mixture of experience and Youth. Among the 28 players, 15 of them hail from Kerala, which shows their trust in Local talents.

The Squad for I-League 2018-19 are ;

GOAL KEEPERS : Shibinraj Kuniyil, Arnab Das Sharma, Ajmal PA

DEFENDERS : Abhishek Das, Shahabas Saleel, Deepak Kumar, Justin, Shinu S, Fabrizio Ortiz (Arg), Evgeniv Kochnev(Uzb), Daniel Addo(Ghana)

MIDFIELDERS : Mohammed Rashid, Salman K, Arjun Jayaraj, Bijesh Balan, Baoringdao Bodo, Pritam Singh, Jishnu Balakrishnan, Mudde Musa(Captain) (Uganda), Felipe De Castro (Brazil)

FORWARDS : V P Suhair, S Rajesh, Kushanth Chauhan, Ajay Singh, Usman Ashik, Gani Ahmed Nigam, Nasar, Antonio German (Eng)

STRENGHS
Key player’s injury had a huge set back in last year’s performance of the team. This year though, they had enough bench strength to fill in any spot. Defense looks very strong having the likes of Daniel Addo, Fabrizio Ortiz and Evgeniv Kochnev.

WEAKNESS
Midfield is the area which will worry Gokulam. Absence of a Foreign Midfield General may prove to be a set back to them. Arjun Jayaraj, Rashid and Salman can fit in this role. But time can only tell about it, when they play agianst tougher opponents.

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT
Antonio German : He is not a new face to Indian Football. He has the experience of playing in India, which will be helpful for Gokulam. He had already made his intentions clear as he said he want to become the top scorer in the league.

Arjun Jayaraj : He was the most impressive player in the squad last season. He is instrumental in the Gokulam’s midfield. He had a lot of offers from other clubs,but Gokulam has convinced him to stay at the club, knowing his talents.

FIXTURES
Gokulam Kerala FC will start their Ileague campaign from 27th October vs Mohun Bagan in Kozhikkode. Here are the full Fixtures of Gokulam Kerala FC ;

27/10/2018 – Gokulam Kerala FC vs Mohun Bagan AC. Kozhikode, 5 pm.

31/10/2018 – Neroca FC vs Gokulam Kerala FC. Imphal, 2 pm.

4/11/2018 – Gokulam Kerala FC vs Chennai City FC. Kozhikode, 5 pm.

11/11/2018 – Gokulam Kerala FC vs Shillong Lajong. Kozhikode, 5 pm.

18/11/2018 – Gokulam Kerala FC vs Minerva Punjab FC. Kozhikode, 7:30 pm.

30/11/2018 – Gokulam Kerala FC vs Churchill Brothers FC Goa. Kozhikode, 5 pm.

8/12/2018 – East Bengal FC vs Gokulam Kerala FC. Kolkata, 5 pm.

15/12/2018 – Gokulam Kerala FC vs Real Kashmir FC. Kozhikode, 5 pm.

21/12/2018 – Indian Arrows vs Gokulam Kerala FC. Cuttack/Bhubaneswar, 5 pm.

29/12/2018 – Aizawl FC vs Gokulam Kerala FC. Aizawl, 2 pm.

4/1/2019 – Chennai City FC vs Gokulam Kerala FC. Coimbatore, 7:30 pm.

10/1/2019 – Churchill Brothers FC Goa vs Gokulam Kerala FC. Vasco, 2 pm.

30/1/2019 – Mohun Bagan AC vs Gokulam Kerala FC. Kolkata, 5 pm.

6/2/2019 – Real Kashmir FC vs Gokulam Kerala FC. Srinagar, 2 pm.

16/2/2019 – Gokulam Kerala FC vs Indian Arrows. Kozhikode, 5 pm.

22/2/2019 – Shillong Lajong FC vs Gokulam Kerala FC. Shillong, 5 pm.

3/3/2019 – Gokulam Kerala FC vs Neroca FC. Kozhikode, 5 pm.

TBC – Gokulam Kerala FC vs East Bengal FC, Kozhikkode

WORDS FROM COACH AND CAPTAIN
Coach Bino George sems very Confident of his side before the start of the league and he expect his team to qualify for AFC Competitions.
“AFC cup qualification is our aim. We would like to give more opportunity to Kerala players. The players are more experienced and we expext full support from the crowd”, stated Bino George.

Mudde Musa, the newly appointed Captain of the side requested the support from the fans and guaranteed the result of the team.
“Last year was amazing. We performed really well. This year we have prepared a lot. It is your brothers and friends who are going to play. We need your full support”, said Captain.

Editor - MOHAMMED SHIHAB

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