Gokulam Kerala has completed the signings of defenders Evgeniy Kochnev and Fabricio Ortiz ahead of the new I-League season.

Kochnev, a 25-year-old wing-back from Uzbekistan, played in the Uzkbekistan Super League in 2017 with FC Shurtan. The Argentinian centre-back Ortiz, 28, most recently played in the Jordanian Pro League with Shadab Al-Aqaba.

READ:  Joel Williams - The 'brains' behind dreaming big

The two have signed one-year deals on a free transfer, and are expected to arrive in India in early August as the new manager Fernando Andres Santiago Valera puts his team in place before the campaign kicks off in October.

'Suitable options'

Joel Williams, who oversaw the successful transfer policy at Minerva Punjab last season which saw it lift the I-League title, played a crucial role in bringing the pair to Gokulam. “I showed the manager (Valera) these two profiles. I particularly liked them both and so did he. Our working relationship is very close so we both agreed they were suitable options,” Williams told Sportstar .


Evgeniy Kochnev (centre) playing for FC Buxoro in the Uzbekistan Super League. Photo: Utkir Sharipov


He added, “They suit the way of playing the gaffer wants. Any incoming player is [signed] with the intention of the style of play of the manager.”

‘Interesting’ project

Kochnev is eager to fight for top places with his new club in the I-League. Ortiz, whose playing career has seen him ply his trade in Argentina, Italy, the United States and Jordan, is excited for the new challenge in India. “New country, new team, new challenges and Gokulam have a coach from Argentina and obviously the project at Gokulam is interesting,” said Ortiz.

With the latest additions, Gokulam has filled up four of its six overseas players quota which also includes Englishman Antonio German and Ugandan Musa Mudde.