Gokulam Kerala extends Afghan midfielder Mukhammad's contract

Mukhammad played an important role in his team clinching its maiden I-League title last season, scoring four goals in 14 matches and also marshalled the midfield.

Sharif Mukhammed

Sharif Mukhammad has signed a one-year contract extension with Gokulam Kerala.   -  Special Arrangement

One of the most memorable moments at the last I-League came in the match between Gokulam Kerala and TRAU.

With 20 minutes remaining in what had become the deciding game on the final day of the league, Gokulam was trailing by a goal when Sharif Mukhammad came on to take the free-kick from just outside the penalty box. He scored with a lovely kick and the Kerala team was back in the match.

Gokulam scored three more goals as it became the first team ever from Kerala to win the I-League. Sharif was undoubtedly one of the main contributors to Gokulam’s remarkable triumph. He was brilliant in the midfield right through the tournament, in which he gave 799 passes, second only to RoundGlass Punjab’s Joseba Beitia (825).

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Sharif is set to remain at Gokulam. The Russia-based Afghanistan star’s contract has been extended for another season by the Kozhikode-based club.

Memorable experience

“I am glad to renew the contract with Gokulam Kerala,” said Sharif. “Last year it was a memorable experience for me to be with the Malabarians. We want to win more titles in the upcoming year and I hope we will have another superb season ahead.”

Gokulam’s Italian coach, Vincenzo Alberto Annese, is understandably delighted.

“I am so happy to have Sharif for the next season also,” Annese said. “He is a top-quality player in our league. He is a strong midfielder with experience in playing in Asia Cup. He is a leader in midfield and he can balance very nicely between attacking and defensive phases. Sharif is also a good free-kick take.”

Not many would dispute with that last sentence from the Gokulam coach.

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