The midfielder has prior experience of playing with several of the Malabarians’ women’s team players.

Reigning I-League winners Gokulam Kerala are gearing up for a very important season for both their men’s and women’s teams. Their men’s team will primarily look to defend their I-League title and play well in the AFC Cup 2022. Meanwhile, the women’s side will feature in the inaugural AFC Women’s Club Championship 2021 and the Indian Women’s League (IWL) – for which they have roped in midfielder Ritu Rani, Khel Now can confirm.

“Ritu Rani has put pen to paper on a contract with Gokulam Kerala. She will be a part of the club’s women’s team that will represent India in the AFC Women’s Club Championship. The IWL is likely to follow suit. She’ll play for GKFC there as well,” sources close to the developments informed Khel Now.

Ritu Rani’s career so far

The midfielder’s love for football began at a very young age. A former student of Alakhpura School, she played at the Indian Women’s League (IWL) in 2017, with Alakhpura FC.

During this period, the 24-year-old was also teammates with Sanju Yadav and Manisha Kalyan – who later moved to Gokulam Kerala. She will now join them once again, at her new club.

In 2017, Ritu Rani received a call-up to the senior Indian women’s national camp for the first time. She made her debut for the national team in a series of International friendlies against Malaysia. Things were looking up for the midfielder at that time, however, she suffered a knee injury soon after, ruling her out of action for several months.

It took two years for her to return to the national team. And now, the move to Gokulam Kerala may turn her fortunes around as far as a club career is concerned.

Gokulam Kerala’s pre-season preparations

In April, the Malabarians lost their star goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan to Iceland-based Hamar Hveragerdi. The Indian international left the club after playing a pivotal role in their IWL success in the 2019-20 season.

So far, Gokulam Kerala have managed to retain their other key players including Manisha, Michel Castanha, Karishma Shirvoikar and Sabitra Bhandari. Led by head coach Priya PV, the Kozhikode-based outfit are gearing up to make a solid first impression in the AFC Women’s Club Championship. They will also be keen to defend their Indian Women’s League crown.

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