Kerala Blasters FC (KBFC) has reinforced its squad with the addition of centre-back Raju Gaikwad. The 29-year-old spent last season with Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL).

After losing Sandesh Jhingan to a long term injury a few days ago, the Manjappada has moved swiftly to secure a replacement.

The Mumbai born defender has a lot of experience, having played for the Kolkata giants — East Bengal and Mohun Bagan — in the I-League along with stints at FC Goa and Mumbai City FC in the ISL.

“I am happy to have Raju in the team. I have worked with Raju before while he was in East Bengal,” said Eelco Schattorie, KBFC's new head coach.

“He has the ability to play in all positions in the back line. He also has a good physique and decent techniques on the ball. I am happy that he is now part of Kerala Blasters.”

Speaking of his move, Raju expressed his happiness and is “excited to be surrounded by a dedicated and hard-working team.”

“I do believe that there is only one way to succeed in anything and that is to give it everything and I am here to do that”, he added.

Jhingan's injury meant KBFC was light in the center of the defence, with Jessel Carneiro and Abdul Hakku the only options to partner Gianni Zuiverloon. Raju's signing should ease Schattorie's defensive headache ahead of the season opening clash against ATK on September 20.