I-League 2018: Former Kerala Blasters star Antonio German signs for Gokulam Kerala FC
What's the story?
Former Kerala Blasters forward Antonio German has signed for the I-League side Gokulam Kerala FC from English National League Conference side Ebbsfleet Town, on Saturday.
Both German and Gokulam announced the new deal via their twitter handles, sending the local fans in Kerala into ecstasy.
In case you didn't know...
Antonio German had set the Indian Super League alight with his performances for Kerala Blasters in the 2015 and the 2016 seasons. While the Blasters had a disappointing season in 2015 when they finished bottom of the league, the 2016 season was completely different as German mesmerised the crowd, as he helped the Blasters make it to the ISL final, where they lost out to ATK.
The heart of the matter
Gokulam Kerala have had a decent first season in the I-League, as they managed to keep themselves out of the relegation zone with a 7th-place finish. While this was not enough to give them direct qualification into the Round of 16 stage of the Super Cup, Gokulam managed to defeat ISL side NorthEast United FC in the qualifiers, to make it to the main draw, where they lost out to eventual winners Bengaluru FC.
One of the key players in Gokulam's campaign was forward Henry Kisekka, who was on a rampage against NEUFC. Whoever, with the 28-year-old Ugandan joining Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan ahead of next season, Gokulam have roped in German as a replacement.
The Englishman brings in a wealth of experience, having started his career at Queens Park Rangers. Most recently, German had played for Ebbsfleet Town, who are in the sixth spot on the National League table, in the fifth tier of English football.
Gokulam Kerala had shown a lot of promise in their first season in the Indian top flight, and it will be interesting to see what they come up with in their second ever I-League campaign.
Having played at Kerala Blasters, Antonio German is already quite the popular figure among the football fans in Kerala. He is sure to be as warmly received in Kozhikode or Malappuram, as he was in Kochi, a couple of years back.