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The 18-year-old is all set to make his professional debut in I-League 2021-22.

I-League outfit NEROCA FC have completed the signing of TH Hrishikesh Namboothiri, Khel Now can confirm. The 18-year-old lad from Kerala joins the Orange Brigade on a one-year-deal.

“NEROCA FC have signed Hrishikesh Namboothiri on a one-year deal. He impressed in the trials conducted recently by the club, who then chose to rope him into their I-League squad for the upcoming season,” a source close to the developments informed Khel Now. This is also the player’s maiden contract with a professional outfit and he is expected to make his Indian football debut in the upcoming 2021-22 season of the I-League.

Player profile

Hailing from Kerala, Hrishikesh started playing football at the age of 10. He initially plied his trade at a few regional football academies before joining the German Football Academy in Kochi.

The youngster’s earliest claim to fame came during his time with the German Football Academy, when he got selected for a two week-long camp at Borussia Dortmund. A series of good displays there meant that opportunities kept knocking on his door afterwards. In March 2020, Hrishikesh got a chance to play at Eliteserien (Norwegian top division) club Viking FK – before COVID-19 and the subsequent global lockdown put an end to those plans.

During the 2020-21 season, the 18-year-old also had interest from Kerala Premier League (KPL) side Basco FC. However, an injury resulted in him not signing for them.

Despite his young age, Hrishikesh Namboothiri has shown plenty of versatility as an attacker. He can play either as a striker or as an attacking midfielder. In the upcoming 2021-22 season, it will be interesting to see how NEROCA utilize the player in the I-League.

NEROCA FC’s pre-season preparations

The Orange Brigade have been very active this off-season, in a bid to prepare themselves for their forthcoming league campaign. The club finished at rock-bottom in I-League 2020-21 and they would definitely want to perform better next time around.

So far, NEROCA FC have extended the contracts of full-back Romtan Singh, midfielder Jiteshwor Singh and winger Khaiminthang Lhungdim. Apart from Hrishikesh Namboothiri, the club have also signed midfielder Manisana Singh from Jamshedpur FC. Led by new head coach Khogen Singh, they are set to announce more signings and contract extensions in the weeks to come.

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