ISL Transfer News: Kerala Blasters FC sign Cameroonian striker Raphael Messi Bouli
The 27-year-old hails from Cameroon and operates as a centre-forward. At Blasters, Bouli is expected to have the crucial role of linking up play between the midfielders and Bartholomew Ogbeche at the striking end.
Bouli began his career with FAP Yaounde in Cameroon in 2013. He then joined Canon Yaounde and represented the club in one season. From 2016 to 2018, Bouli played for APEJES Academy and won the Cameroonian Cup in 2016.
The 6ft 1in player's first stint outside his country was with Chinese club Yanbian Funde in 2018. In the Chinese League One, he played 14 games and scored three goals and three assists. Bouli then played for Iranian club Foolad FC in the Persian Gulf Pro League. The striker scored one goal for Foolad, from 12 appearances.
'Kerala's own Messi' was part of the Cameroon national team in 2013, 2017, 2018 and scored one goal from six matches.
Kerala Blasters FC has now completed their foreign quota with two defenders and strikers eachand three midfielders. While Gianni Zuiverloon and Jairo Rodrigues stand tall in defence, Sergio Cidoncha, Mario Arques and Moustapha Gning will take up the midfield duties for the Tuskers. Bartholomew Ogbeche will provide the much-needed experience in attack along with fresh-face Bouli.
The two-time finalists will be touring UAE for their pre-season camp and are expected to play three friendly games during their stay.
Kerala Blasters FC had a disappointing 2018/19 season, claiming only two wins from eighteen games and finishing ninth on the points table. The management will be expecting to turn things upside down under the new manager Eelco Schattorie and win back Manjappada's famed support.
The new season of ISL will kick-start with a classic Kerala Blasters FC-ATK encounter on 20 October. Schattorie's side will play rivals Bengaluru FC on 23 November and the reverse fixture on 15 February.