The hero of the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) final, Laxmikant Kattimani, has signed a two-year contract extension with Hyderabad FC (HFC), the club announced on Friday, July 1.
The HFC custodian had a fairytale ending to the recently concluded campaign, which saw the Nizams clinch their maiden ISL title.
Kattimani said after signing a deal until the end of the 2023-24 season with the ISL champions:
“I am very happy to sign a new contract here and I am really grateful to the club for their trust in me. We have an incredible group here. We are one big family and I’m sure together we can achieve many more things.”
He was almost unbeatable in the penalty shoot-out in the summit clash against Kerala Blasters FC (KBFC) at Fatorda's PJN Stadium on March 20.
Kattimani saved four Blasters penalties, one of which had to be retaken, and stepped up right when the team needed him.
He has established himself as a trusted custodian for Manolo Marquez and Kattimani believes that this trust is what made it easy for him to sign a new deal.
The shot-stopper, who recently earned a well-deserved call-up to the Indian national team, added:
“Manolo has really believed in me ever since he arrived here at the club and gave me the opportunity and confidence to get back to my best. So he has definitely played a big part in me continuing here at the club.”
A two-time I-League winner, a Super Cup winner, and now an ISL Champion, Kattimani was part of the Blue Tigers squad that recently secured qualification to the AFC Asian Cup 2023 and is one of the most experienced players in his role in the country.
The 33-year-old has so far made 81 ISL appearances, with 42 of them coming for HFC. He has so far kept 14 clean sheets in the competition (nine in HFC colors).
The city of Hyderabad has already seen him play at the Gachibowli Stadium and Kattimani cannot wait to play in front of the home fans again.
Speaking about the fans, the former Dempo SC and FC Goa goalkeeper said:
“We really missed you guys over the past two years due to the COVID situation. We, however, felt your support on social media and I request you all to continue your support from the stands this season and remind everyone how important you are to the team. You're an important part of the family!”
In his ISL career, Kattimani has registered a total of 247 saves and 14 clean sheets, with a save percentage of 68.99 percent.