The Malabarians begin their campaign against Kidderpore SC on November 26 (Friday).
Gokulam Kerala FC will play its IFA Shield matches starting from November 26 at Kolkata. The Kerala team is playing in Group ‘C’ against Kidderpore SC in the opener and will face BSS Sporting Club on November 29. The kickoff time is 2 PM and the matches are live on the website phoneflix.in.
Last year Gokulam Kerala FC were ousted in the group stages in the IFA Shield but came back stronger in the I-League to become the champions. This year also after IFA Shield the team is continuing in Kolkata to take part in the I-League, which is starting on December 26.
“The tournament is very emotional to me as this is the first championship I took part in India. I was not able to win the tournament but we were able to come back in the I-League and become champions. We will try our maximum to win the tournament. I also want to see the development of the youngsters I have worked with after the Durand Cup,” said Gokulam Kerala FC Head Coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese.
This time Malabarians have added another reserve team player Gifty Gracious to the squad. For Durand Cup, another two reserve team players – Rishad PP and Abhijith – had found place in the senior team. Malabarians have also replaced Nigerian forward Elvis Chikkatara with another Nigerian forward Emmanuel Otu Ajah. Other notable addition to the squad is Shahajas Thekkan, who has joined from Kerala Blasters Reserve team.
“IFA Shield is the fourth oldest championship in the world and second in India. It is a legacy tournament and like all other tournaments, we will be playing to win the championship. We are sending a young squad, who has been preparing for the past two months in Kozhikode for the tournament. We wish them to bring more laurels to Kerala,” said Gokulam Kerala FC President VC Praveen.
Defending champions Real Kashmir, Indian Arrows and Hyderabad FC reserve team are the other major teams taking part in the tournament.
Goalkeepers: Rakshit Dagar, PA Ajmal, Vigneshwaran Baskaran.
Defenders: Bouba Aminou, Shahajas Thekkan, Muhammed Uvais, Mohammed Jasim, Deepak Singh, Alex Saji.
Midfielders: Rishad, Abhijith, Emil Benny, Gifty Gracious, Sharif Mukhammad (Captain), Zodingliana, Jithin MS, Sourav.
Forwards: Rahim Osumanu, Emmanuel Jeremiah Otu Ajah, Thahir Zaman, Beneston Barretto, Ronald Singh.