The Italian tactician led the team to their first-ever I-League title in March 2021.

Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese has signed a one-year contract extension with the club, the club announced on Saturday. The deal comes after the hugely successful I-League season of the Malabarians, in which the club was crowned champions.

“Gokulam Kerala FC are delighted to announce that Vincenzo Alberto Annese has signed a contract extension with the club for one more year. The contract extension means that the Italian coach will be in charge of the club’s AFC Cup campaign and also leading the Malabarians’ pursuit to defend the I-League title upcoming season,” the Kozhikode-outfit’s official statement read.

“I am so excited to be part of the Gokulam Kerala FC family again. We have already set our targets for the next season. We need to repeat our I-League title win and also concentrate on AFC Cup. I am so happy that I can continue my project at Gokulam next year also,” Coach Annese said after signing the new contract. He joined the Malabarians after successful stints in a slew of countries, including Malaysia, Belize, Ghana, and Palestine. During his first campaign with them, he implemented a distinctive attacking style of football that eventually helped the club win the championship.

Listen: Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese on Khel Now’s ‘Beyond The Scores’ podcast

Of the 15 matches played, he won nine matches and drew two matches. Altogether the team scored 31 goals – the highest in the league. He also imparted a never-say-die attitude in players and the team was known for its comeback victories. They also hence became the first-ever club from Kerala to win the I-League title and also the first club from the state to qualify for the AFC Cup.

“We are glad to extend our head coach’s contract. The club has full confidence that he would be able to continue the winning streak in Asia also. We wish him the best for the next season,” said Gokulam Gopalan, the chairman of Gokulam Kerala FC.

Gokulam Kerala FC CEO Dr. B. Ashok Kumar, said, “Contract renewal of our Head Coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese is good news for our club and whole of Kerala Football. I am glad and I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our beloved Chairman Gokulam Gopalan sir and passionate President Praveen Sir for renewing the contract. He came, He saw, He conquered with the support of our players and the club management. He played a stellar role in guiding an ‘Incredible Team’ both on and off the field to achieve the I-League championship 2020-21.

“I am sure together with Vincenzo we are going to raise the bar and bring more laurels to Kerala football and our club will achieve higher levels than in the past,” Kumar signed off.

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