ISL 2017: Former Kerala Blasters star Kervens Belfort joins new ISL club
What's the story?
Kervens Belfort, Kerala Blasters' three-goal hero in ISL 2016, has joined Jamshedpur FC for the 2017-18 campaign of the popular franchise league. The new ISL entrants have confirmed the signing on their official Twitter handle: "Haitian international striker Kervens Belfort will join the #JamshedpurFC family!"
The 25-year-old is believed to have signed a single season contract at the Jamshedpur-based club and will link up with his new teammates before the club embark on their pre-season tour of Spain and Thailand in October, a month before the new season commences.
In case you didn't know...
Belfort was one of the stars of the Kerala Blasters team that reached the final in last season's Indian Super League. He has since played in Sweden and Azerbaijan with Syrianska and FK Zira.
The Haitian international worked with current Jamshedpur FC head coach Steve Coppell last season, also another reason for him to join the club.
The heart of the matter
Jamshedpur FC had signed three foreign players before Belfort and all of them have played in the ISL before, a pointer to the club's strategy of recruiting proven ISL players. Belfort also fits that profile and now joins Sameehg Doutie, Memo and Tiri as the new overseas arrivals at Jamshedpur FC.
Belfort is a 40-time capped Haitian international and has scored 16 goals for the national team. He played four Europa League qualifiers this season for FK Zira and scored one goal. FK Zira were knocked out of the second tier European competition by Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu as Belfort couldn't make the desired impact despite playing both the legs.
According to sources, Jamshedpur FC's assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed played a key role in the negotiations and convinced Belfort to put pen to paper.
This will come as a big disappointment to Kerala Blasters fans who had expected the 25-year-old to rejoin the two-time ISL finalists. The 2017-18 ISL campaign starts on 17th November and it remains to be seen whether Belfort haunts his former employers.
Jamshedpur FC's no-risk policy of signing players with ISL experience will stand the club in good stead for the forthcoming season. Belfort thrived under Coppell at Kerala Blasters last term, and the duo will once again be expected to work their magic and go one step further and lift the title.