Indian Football Transfers: Gokulam Kerala all set to sign Afghanistan international Zohib Islam Amiri
I-League club Gokulam Kerala is all set to sign Afghanistan defender Zohib Islam Amiri, Sportskeeda has learned. The 29-year-old has 48 international caps, the most by any Afghan player, and has 6 goals to his name despite being a defender.
Sources say, Amiri is currently in Canada with his family and has verbally agreed to Gokulam Kerala's offer. Once the government clears his visa, he would arrive in India and complete the paperwork with the Malabarians, most probably by the next week.
Zohib Islam, also known as Haroon Fakhruddin Amiri, is no stranger to Indian football. He came to India at the age of 21 in 2011 and signed for the now-defunct I-League club Mumbai FC. He played three seasons in the top flight for them before making the switch to Dempo SC in the winter transfer window of 2013-14 I-League.
Amiri played two seasons in the I-League with the Goan club and was even loaned to FC Goa for the inaugural season of the ISL. He made 9 appearances for them but couldn't help Zico's side clinch the trophy as they got knocked out in the semi-finals.
Thereafter, Amiri represented DSK Shivajians and Chennai City FC in the I-League before signing for Maldivian club New Radiant SC. He even made four appearances for them in the 2018 AFC Cup and was a part of the starting eleven that defeated Bengaluru FC in the group stages of the tournament.
Amiri is a household name in Afghanistan football because of his immense contribution to the national team. He captained them to glory in the 2013 SAFF Championships, where his team defeated India 2-0 in the finals.
Amiri was also a part of Afghanistan's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, and 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign. His most recent international appearance came against Tajikistan in an international friendly on June 2019, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
After two disappointing seasons in the I-League, Gokulam Kerala are leaving no stone unturned to assemble the best squad. Earlier, it was reported that Henry Kisekka was in advanced stages of negotiation with the Malabarians but now the deal is as good as done. Marcus Joseph Jr. is also expected to renew his contract.
Having brought back Fernando Santiago Varela as the head coach of the team, Gokulam Kerala have also made some interesting Indian signings. While local lads Mo Salah and Alex Shaji will help the team connect well with the fans, the incorporation of Lalit Thapa, Malemngamba Meetei, and Ashok Singh from NEROCA and Lalromawia from Chhinga Veng will bolster their squad.
Gokulam Kerala has already started their pre-season training as they will take part in the 2019 Durand Cup. They will clash swords with the recently promoted I-League club TRAU FC, Air Force, and Chennaiyin FC B in Group D of the third oldest football tournament in the world.