Gokulam Kerala became the first team from Kerala to participate in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup at MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong. The 2019 Durand Cup winners will join I-League clubs Mohun Bagan and Chennai City FC in the AFC-recognised club championship in Bangladesh.
After winning the prestigious Durand Cup in Kolkata beating the local favourites Mohun Bagan, Gokulam Kerala will now take part in a premier club-level tournament in neighbouring Bangladesh. The Malabarians accepted a late invitation from the organisers and also became the first team from the state to take part in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup which will be played in Chittagong.
Gokulam are in group 'B' along with Bashundhara Kings, I-League champions Chennai City FC and Malaysian club Terengganu Football Club in the tournament which is being organised by Chittagong Abahoni, a club based in Chittagong, and the Bangladesh Football Federation. Gokulam Kerala will take on Terengganu Football Club on October 24 and will meet Chennai City FC in their last group match on October 26.
"We were playing pre-season friendly matches in the last two weeks against ISL teams. We did too much effort. It is good for us, because for this tournament we can start with a good prepared team. The tournament can help us to learn more about how much we will have to improve before the start of the I League," Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Fernando Santiago Varela said in a press release, reported Network 18.
While the chairman of the club Gokulam Gopalan said, "I am proud to see Gokulam taking part in the prestigious tournament. This is the first time a club from Kerala is getting such an opportunity. We accepted the invitation in a short notice. But the boys are ready for a new challenge and we will try to maintain the expectations of our fans.”