Gokulam Kerala FC

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Gokulam Kerala FC
Official Gokulam Kerala FC Logo.png
Full nameGokulam Kerala Football Club
Nickname(s)Malabarians[1]
Short nameGKFC
FoundedJanuary 2017; 5 years ago (2017-01) (as Gokulam FC)[2]
GroundEMS Stadium
Capacity80,000
OwnerSree Gokulam Group
PresidentV. C. Praveen
Head coachRichard Towa
LeagueI-League
2021–22I-League, 1st of 11 (champions)
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Departments of Gokulam Kerala FC
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg
Football
(Men's)
Football
(Women's)
Football
(Reserves)

Gokulam Kerala Football Club is an Indian professional football club based in Calicut, Kerala.[3] Founded in 2017, the club competes in the I-League.[4][5][6] They won the 2020–21 I-League to become the first ever club from Kerala to win a national title, and became the first team to defend the I-League title in 2021–22 season.[7][8] Gokulam is also the first club from Kerala to qualify for a continental competition, the AFC Cup.[9][10]

Nicknamed Malabarians, Gokulam Kerala represents the state of Kerala, predominantly its Malabar region.[11] Affiliated with Kerala Football Association (KFA), the club also competes in Kerala Premier League, and clinched its first title in 2018.[12]

History[edit]

Formation and early years (2017–2020)[edit]

Gokulam Kerala was founded in January 2017.[13] On 20 September, after the second round of bidding invitations, the bid evaluation committee decided to award Sree Gokulam Group the right to field their team in the Hero I-League 2017–18 season onwards from Calicut, Kerala.[14][15] Although the club did not have a good beginning, they went on to defeat clubs like East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Minerva Punjab by the end of the season. Gokulam Kerala hired Spaniard Fernando Santiago Varela as head coach in March 2018.[16]

On 15 March 2018, Gokulam played the Super Cup qualifiers against North East United FC and was qualified with a 2-goal victory.[17] In the pre-quarterfinals of the Super Cup on 1 April 2018, they were leading against Bengaluru FC by 0–1 until 60 minutes with a goal scored by the striker Henry Kisekka but Bengaluru scored a stoppage time goal which led to a defeat of 2–1.[18]

Gokulam in 2019, for the first time went abroad and participated at the 2019 Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup in Bangladesh,[19] where they qualified for the Semi-finals after finishing 2nd in Group B. Gokulam finished as semifinalist after losing 3–2 to Chittagong Abahani.[20][21][22] Gokulam Kerala won their maiden title under the coaching of Fernando Santiago Varela, the 129th edition of the Durand Cup on 24 August 2019, defeating Mohun Bagan AC 2–1 in Kolkata.[23][24][25]

2020–present[edit]

Gokulam Kerala won the 2020–21 I-League by defeating TRAU FC in the final game.[26][27] With 29 points from 15 games, they qualified for the 2022 AFC Cup group stage.[28][29][30]

In April 2021, Gokulam Kerala emerged as the champions of the 2020–21 Kerala Premier League, defeating KSEB FC 2–1 at the Thrissur Municipal Corporation Stadium.[31][32] They began their 2021–22 I-League season on 26 December with 1–0 win against Churchill Brothers. They later thrashed Real Kashmir by 5–1.[33]

After back to back wins in both the group and championship stages,[34][35][36][37][38] the club clinched I-League title again in 2021–22 season, defeating Mohammedan Sporting 2–1 in the final game at the Salt Lake Stadium on 14 May, and became the first club in fifteen years to defend a national league title.[39][40]

At the 2022 AFC Cup group-stage opener, the club achieved a historic 4–2 win against Indian Super League side ATK Mohun Bagan.[41][42] Later, they were defeated 1–0 by Maldivian side Maziya S&RC,[43] 1–2 by Bangladeshi side Bashundhara Kings respectively, and knocked out of the tournament.[44]

Stadium[edit]

Fans of Gokulam Kerala at the EMS Stadium during an I-League match in 2017

Gokulam Kerala FC plays all its home matches at the EMS Stadium, which is located in the heart of Calicut city.[45][46] West stand is the largest block and can accommodate most spectators. Capacity of the stadium is limited to 80,000.

Supporters[edit]

Kerala is a state known for its passionate football fans.[47] Football in Northern Kerala (known as Malabar Coastal Region) has arguably one of the most passionate fanbase in the state.[48][49] GKFC Battalia is the official supporters' group of Gokulam Kerala FC.[50][51]

Rivalry[edit]

Rivalry with Kolkata clubs[edit]

An I-League encounter between Gokulam Kerala and Mohun Bagan at the EMS Stadium in 2019

Gokulam Kerala is known for pathbreaking the Kolkata clubs, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan in some major matches in I-League and Durand Cup.[52][53] Gokulam Kerala won the 2019 Durand Cup by defeating East Bengal in the semi-final and Mohun Bagan in the final. They also defeated Mohammedan in the deciding last match of 2021–22 I-League to clinch their consecutive league title. Both the states, Kerala and West Bengal, are two dominant powerhouses of Indian Football.

The Malabar Derby[edit]

Gokulam Kerala enjoyed an on-field rivalry with another Kozhikode based side Kerala United FC (previously Quartz Calicut).[54] The first Kozhikode Derby match took place in the group stage of 2017–18 Kerala Premier League, where Quartz Calicut were winners. First match after acquisition was in 2020–21 Kerala Premier League semifinal. The match ended goaless, and Gokulam won 4–2 on penalties.[55]

Results[edit]

Date Competition Venue Score Kerala United FC scorers Gokulam Kerala scorers Attendance
19 April 2021 2020–21 Kerala Premier League Maharaja's College Stadium, Ernakulam 0–0
3 June 2018 2017–18 Kerala Premier League Municipal Corporation Stadium, Thrissur 0–2 Brian UmonyArjun Jayaraj
10 May 2018 2017–18 Kerala Premier League EMS Stadium, Calicut 0–2 Mohamed Salah, Usman Ashik
25 April 2018 2017–18 Kerala Premier League EMS Stadium, Calicut 3–2 Emmanuel Aidoo Sushanth Mathew, Mama

Crest, colours & kits[edit]

Crest[edit]

Theyyam is a popular ritual form of worship in North Kerala

The club crest incorporates elements from historical Theyyam,[56] a famous ritual art form that originated in northern Kerala.[57] It encompasses dance, mime and music. The crest was unveiled in January 2017, by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and football legend I. M. Vijayan.[58]

Colours[edit]

During the early days they used yellow and red coloured home kit. From 2018–19 season onwards, maroon was used as primary colour for home kit.

Kit evolution[edit]

2017–18
2018–2019
2019–2020
2020–2021
2021–2022

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Main sponsor Back sponsor Chest sponsor Sleeve sponsor
2017–2018 Kaizen Sports[59] Aachi Group
2018–2019 Aqualine PVC Pipes[60]
2019–2020 Sree Gokulam Group CSB Bank[61] Gokulam Gokulam Madinah
2020–2021 SEGA[62] Federal Bank
2021–present CSB Bank[63] Sree Gokulam Group CSB Bank Multiple

Players[edit]

First-team squad[edit]

As of 24 March 2022[64]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
3 DF India IND Mohammed Jassim
5 DF India IND Pawan Kumar
7 MF India IND Thahir Zaman
8 MF India IND Rishad PP
9 FW India IND Sourav K
10 FW India IND Ngangom Ronald Singh
12 MF India IND Subhash Singh
14 MF India IND Zodingliana Ralte
15 DF Cameroon CMR Aminou Bouba
20 MF Sri Lanka SRI Ahmed Waseem Razeek
21 MF Afghanistan AFG Sharif Mukhammad (Captain)
22 FW India IND Beneston Barretto
29 GK India IND Vicky
32 DF India IND Shahajas Thekkan
No. Pos. Nation Player
35 DF India IND Abhijith Elippatta
40 GK India IND James Kithan
42 MF India IND Abhijith K
98 FW Jamaica JAM Jourdaine Fletcher
99 FW Slovenia SVN Luka Majcen
DF Sierra Leone SLE David Simbo
MF India IND Arjun Jayaraj
MF India IND Tanmoy Ghosh
FW India IND Noufal PN
DF India IND Subhankar Adhikari
MF India IND Akhil Praveen
MF India IND Hrishidath R

Gokulam Kerala FC Reserves[edit]

Honours[edit]

League[edit]

Cup[edit]

The Durand Cup trophy, won by Gokulam Kerala in 2019.

Invitational[edit]

Reserve team[edit]

Women's team[edit]

Technical staff[edit]

Current technical staff[edit]

Role Name
Head coach Vacant
Assistant coach India Baiju
Goalkeeping coach Nepal Manish Timsina
Fitness and conditioning coach Brazil Djair Miranda Garcia
Team manager India Aravind A. R.

Notable players[edit]

The following Gokulam Kerala players have been capped at full international level. Years in brackets indicate their spells at the club.[76]

   

Managerial history[edit]

Fernando Santiago Varela gave Gokulam Kerala their first major title, Durand Cup in 2019.
Vincenzo Alberto Annese,[94] Most successful head coach of Gokulam Kerala. He had won two I-League titles consecutively in two seasons, 2020–21 and 2021–22.

Head coach's record[edit]

As of 4 July 2022
Name Nationality From To P W D L GF GA Win%
Bino George  India 8 October 2017[95] 26 February 2019 40 10 11 19 45 58 025.00
Gift Raikhan  India 26 February 2019 1 July 2019 3 1 0 2 4 6 033.33
Fernando Santiago Varela  Spain 1 July 2019[96] 16 June 2020 20 11 4 5 25 10 055.00
Vincenzo Alberto Annese  Italy 19 August 2020 1 June 2022 48 29 10 9 109 50 060.42
Richard Towa  Cameroon 4 July 2022 present 0 0 0 0 0 0 !

Season analysis[edit]

Season Div. Pos. Pl. W D L GF GA Pts. Super Cup Durand Cup AFC Cup
2017–18 I-League 7 18 6 3 9 17 23 21 Round of 16
2018–19 I-League 10 20 3 8 9 25 33 17 DNP DNQ
2019–20 I-League 5 15 6 4 5 20 19 22 Cancelled[a] Champions DNQ
2020–21 I-League 1 15 9 2 4 31 17 29 Cancelled[b] Cancelled[c] DNQ
2021–22 I-League 1 18 13 4 1 44 15 43 Quarter-finals TBA
  1. ^ Due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown the I-League matches were cancelled after 14 March 2020, and Gokulam Kerala were positioned 5th in the points table after 15 match. The Super Cup wasn't also held for the lockdown and Durand Cup was promoted to the de facto league cup.
  2. ^ Due to a busy schedule of the Indian national football team, the Super Cup was cancelled.
  3. ^ Due to Covid-19 pandemic 2020–21 Durand Cup season cancelled.

Statistics and records[edit]

Most appearances[edit]

Ghanaian Daniel Addo has all-time most appearances with Gokulam Kerala in I-League.
Name Period I-League Super Cup Durand Cup IFA Shield Sheikh Kamal Cup AFC Cup Appearances
India Muhammed Rashid 2017– 35 01 05 03 04 00 48
India Emil Benny 2020– 32 00 03 05 00 03 43
Afghanistan Sharif Mukhammad 2020– 30 00 04 03 00 03 40
India Mohammed Irshad 2017–2018, 2019–2020 29 01 04 01 04 00 39
Ghana Daniel Addo 2017–2019 36 02 00 00 00 00 38
India Naocha singh 2019–2021 24 00 05 03 04 00 36
India Jithin M S 2019– 23 00 03 07 00 03 36
India Arjun Jayaraj 2017–2019 30 02 00 00 00 00 32
Uganda Henry Kisekka 2019–2020 22 02 03 00 04 00 31

Club captains[edit]

Period Name
2017–2018 India Sushanth Mathew
2018–2019 Uganda Musa Mudde
2019 Ghana Daniel Addo
2019–2020 Trinidad and Tobago Marcus Joseph
2020–2021 Ghana Mohamed Awal[97]
2021–present Afghanistan Sharif Mukhammad[98]

Top scorers[edit]

  Still active team players are highlighted
Top scorers record
# Player Career I-League Super Cup Durand Cup IFA Shield Sheikh Kamal Cup AFC Cup Total
1 Trinidad and Tobago Marcus Joseph 2019–2020 14 0 11 0 1 0 26
2 Uganda Henry Kisekka 2017–2018, 2019–2020 9 3 1 0 3 0 16
3 Ghana Denny Antwi 2020-2021 11 0 0 4 0 0 15
4 Slovenia Luka Majcen 2022– 13 0 0 0 0 2 15

Performance in AFC competitions[edit]

2022: Group Stage
Season Competition Round Club Score Position Top scorer
2022 AFC Cup Group D[99] India ATK Mohun Bagan 4–2 4th in Group stage Slovenia Luka Majcen
(2 goals)
Maldives Maziya S&RC 0–1
Bangladesh Bashundhara Kings 1–2

AFC Club Ranking[edit]

As of 12 June 2022[100]
Rank Team Points
140 Thailand Ratchaburi 1,307
141 China Wuhan Yangtze River 1,306
142 India Gokulam Kerala 1,306
143 India Sporting Goa 1,306
144 Japan Oita Trinita 1,306

See also[edit]

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