I-League outfit Gokulam Kerala FC have revealed their full squad for the upcoming IFA Shield.
Ghanaian central defender Mohamed Awal, who was Gokulam's high profile acquisition ahead of the 2020-21 season, will lead the Malabarians in the tournament.
Fellow Ghanaian Dennis Antwi and Malian forward Saliou Gunindo are the other foreigners in the squad. Kannur-born shot-stopper Ubaid CK has been named Awal's deputy.
Ten players from Kerala have made it to the final roster for the IFA Shield. The trio of Thahir Zaman, Emil Benny, and Mohammed Jasim, who were a part of the reserve team, have been promoted to the senior squad.
The 2020 IFA Shield will kick off on Sunday in Kolkata. The annual football competition is organized by the Indian Football Association and the upcoming tournament will be the 123rd edition of the IFA Shield.
Four I-League teams and eight Calcutta Premier Division teams will be competing for the trophy. No overseas teams were invited this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Gokulam Kerala are in Group D, along with United SC and BSS Sporting.
Gokulam Kerala FC gaffer Vincenzo Alberto Annese has said his focus is to win the showpiece event, which will also serve as a preparation for the I-League.
"The IFA Shield is a prestigious, historic tournament. My focus is to win this tournament and prepare the team for I-League. We do our maximum game by game. We hope we can win the tournament," the GKFC website quoted the Italian coach as saying.
The I-League will start on January 9th and will be played in a few venues across Bengal among 11 teams in a bio-secure environment. The Malabarians begin their IFA Shield campaign against United SC in the Group D opener on Sunday.
Gokulam Kerala FC full squad for IFA Shield:
Goalkeepers: Ubaid CK, Vicky Baskaran, Ajmal PA
Midfielders: Muhammed Rashid, Shibil Muhammed, Mayakannan, Salman K, Vincy, Thahir Zaman, Jithin MS
Forwards: Saliou Gunindo, Dennis Antwi, Ronald Ngangom, Lalromawia, Emil Benny
Head Coach: Vincenzo Alberto Annese