I-League champions Gokulam Kerala sign young wing-back Muhammed Rafi

Muhammed Rafi will represent the Gokulam Kerala FC in the upcoming edition of the I-League.
Muhammed Rafi will represent the Gokulam Kerala FC in the upcoming edition of the I-League.
Azhar Mohamed

I-League winners Gokulam Kerala FC have completed the signing of young wing-back Muhammed Rafi from the Mar Athanasius Football Academy.

The 20-year-old has previously trained at the Bengaluru FC Academy, where he was a part of the team that won the Bengaluru Super Division. The youngster has also represented the country at the U-19 level and won the SAFF U-18 Championship 2019 in Nepal.

Speaking about the move, the youngster from Kerala was overjoyed and stated:

"It is an honor to sign for the I-League champions Gokulam Kerala FC. I have keenly followed their matches and I believe I can add more vigor and strength to their squad. I look forward to having a great season with the Malabarians."

VC Praveen, the president of Gokulam Kerala FC, was full of praise for their latest signing and said:

"Muhammed Rafi is an upcoming footballer from Kerala with ample experience with the national team in various age categories. We have a philosophy to promote young Kerala players and his signing is another example of it. We want to promote as many local talents as possible. I am sure Rafi will have a bright future with the club."

The Muvattupuzha-born defender-turned-wing-back put on a fine show in the recently-concluded Kerala Premier League. He is all set to make a mark in the I-League next season. Muhammed Rafi was also part of the qualifying rounds of the AFC U-19 Championship.

Muhammed Rafi recalls the SAFF U-18 final

The Indian football team lifted the SAFF U-18 Championship for the first time when they beat Bangladesh 2-1 in 2019.

India took an early lead in the second minute through Vikram Partap Singh's goal but Bangladesh struck back at the 40-minute mark. The game looked set to go into extra time when Ravi Bahadur Rana scored from 30 yards with a wonderful strike to give India the win.

"It was nice being part of what was a strong Indian team. We had trained hard under coach Floyd Pinto and it was great to finish as the champions after beating Bangladesh in the final," recalls Muhammed Rafi.

The 4th edition of the SAFF U-18 Championship is expected to take place in October this year, with the venue yet to be decided.

Edited by Ritwik Kumar

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