Satheevan Balan has established himself as one of the finest coaches in Kerala. The stunning triumph that he lead Kerala at the Santosh Trophy in Kolkata earlier this year was the latest proof.

But, he has never been part of a professional club. And that hurt him a bit.

On Wednesday, however, he ticked off that from his bucket list, when he joined Gokulam Kerala FC as assistant coach. “I am delighted to be part of Gokulam,” Satheevan told  Sportstar  here on Thursday. “I had always wanted to work in a truly professional environment, so I was happy when I received the offer from Gokulam's president V.C. Praveen.”

He said he had been approached by some clubs outside the State but they were from the lower division. “It is, of course, much more challenging to be part of the I-League,” he said. “Since I have known Gokulam's main coach Bino George for the last few years, my job would be easier. And there are several players in the Gokulam team that have worked with me already, such as Arjun Jayaraj, V.P. Suhair, Shabas Saleel, Abhishek Das, P.A. Nasar, Bijesh Balan, S. Rajesh, P.A. Ajmal and Jestin George.”

Read: I-League 2018-19 season preview

Satheevan's first assignment has taken him to Coimbatore. “I will watch Friday's match between Chennai City and Indian Arrows,” he said. “I will assess the strengths and weaknesses of those teams, whom we will play later on in the league.”

He said he was confident that Gokulam would be able to repeat the good show it had put up in its maiden season a year ago. “I had watched a few games the team played here at Kozhikode and was pretty impressed,” he said. “Of course a few of the main players from the last season are missing, but the signing of Antonio German is a huge positive.”

Gokulam's first match is against Mohun Bagan, to be played at the Corporation Stadium on Saturday.