The 19-year-old custodian has starred for RUFC in the Durand Cup 2022.

Odisha FC have announced the signing of goalkeeper, Niraj Kumar from Rajasthan United for an undisclosed fee. The 19-year-old will join Odisha FC on a three-year deal.

Niraj Kumar impressed the India U-16 set-up. The custodian captivated the collective attention of the nation owing to some splendid performances in the AFC U-16 Championships in Malaysia in 2018 and was part of the U-19 India team in the Granatkin Memorial International Football Tournament in St. Petersberg, Russia.

He has also played for Ozone FC in the I-League second division.

Niraj made headlines when he was a crucial member of the Indian National Team‘s junior men’s squad at the mere age of 16. The shot-stopper had a brilliant individual campaign with impressive performances against Iran and South Korea at the AFC U-16 Championship in Malaysia in 2016.

Of note the young goalkeeper’s efforts versus an Iranian team that India had not registered a point against in 33 years. Niraj made some incredible saves and saved a crucial penalty in a 0-0 draw. The team eventually went 337 minutes without conceding a goal in the tournament.

Niraj also represented Rajasthan United in the ongoing Durand Cup 2022 and started each of their three group stage matches, keeping one clean-sheet and also starring in their 3-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan. His last match for RUFC was the 5-1 defeat to Mumbai City FC.

Odisha FC’s preparations for ISL 2022-23

The Juggernauts have been on a roll in Durand Cup 2022. On Monday, they became the second team to qualify for the knockouts by virtue of winning each of their three matches in Group D. To add joy to their happiness, Josep Gombau’s side have also kept a clean-sheet in each of those three games.

In the transfer market, Odisha FC have seen the return of a couple of foreigners in Diego Mauricio and Carlos Delgado. They have also signed promising domestic players like Raynier Fernandes, Michael Soosairaj and Narender Gahlot.

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