Both the Afghan players have prior experience in Indian football.
The Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League clubs have shown their interest in Afghan players. Defender Masih Saighani is currently in talks with ISL side Chennaiyin FC, whereas Afghanistan international Zohib Amiri is set to join Gokulam Kerala.
Saighani has had a stellar season with Dhaka Abahani, where he helped the side from Bangladesh to qualify for the AFC Cup knockouts rounds, topping the group and defeating clubs like Minerva Punjab, Chennaiyin and Manang Marshyangdi.
The Marina Machans’ head coach, John Gregory was impressed with Saighani’s performances in the AFC Cup. The Afghani defender showed his ball-playing skills and his ability to lead the backline, along with his knack for scoring crucial goals. All in all, this could be a great signing for Chennaiyin, after a terrible ISL campaign followed by a poor AFC Cup.
Hence, they need their fans to remain upbeat for the upcoming campaign. If things go as per plan, this will be the second foreign signing for the Marina Machans, after they roped in Lithuanian forward Nerijus Valskis earlier in the window.
On the other hand, Amiri has played for several clubs in India like Mumbai FC, Dempo SC and ISL outfit FC Goa.
He is primarily a centre-back, but can play in several positions in defence and even in midfield. He is also an experienced campaigner with the Afghanistan national team and has 48 caps for the SAFF nation.
His previous experience in India will be of great help for the Malabarians, as they look to strengthen their backline with his inclusion. After a disappointing I-League campaign last time out, Gokulam Kerala will be hoping to improve on their performances in the upcoming season, which starts with the Durand Cup.
The I-League outfit have already roped in Henry Kisekka from Mohun Bagan for the and now if they can finalize the deal for Amiri, then it will be a step in the right direction for the Malabarians.
Coincidentally, both clubs, Chennaiyin and Gokulam Kerala are participating in the historic Durand Cup, starting in August and are also in the same group. Both have been placed in Group D, alongside I-League newcomers TRAU FC and the Indian Air Force.