Gokulam Kerala FC’s Sharif Mukhammad: We need to write a new story this season!

Gokulam Kerala FC captain Sharif Mukhammad and head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese attended a virtual press conference on December 17, where they answered questions by journalists about the upcoming I-League season, which is set to kick-off on December 26.

Gokulam Kerala FC captain Sharif Mukhammad believes last season’s title triumph will live with the team forever but it is now time for the defending I-League champions to write the next chapter. The Afghan continued, “We will remember last season’s title win all our lives because it was a historic moment. But now we need to focus on this season and write a new story.”

Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese weighed in on his team’s prospects preferring to take a realistic view.

“We have a lot of new faces in the team but we will try and be competitive like always,” he said. “I have complete confidence in every team I put out there.”

“We have some players in this squad from last season with title winning experience,” added Annese. “The league is much more competitive this year with all other teams making good signings to strengthen their squad.”

Gokulam Kerala FC bowed out from the recently concluded IFA Shield after a semifinal loss to Real Kashmir FC but Annese is not taking it too much to heart.

“It was disappointing to lose but we are looking at the positives,” he said. “We lost to the team that won the trophy and also had more options on the bench than us on the day due to our injuries.”

The Italian was adamant that participating in the IFA Shield and the Durand Cup before that was crucial to the team’s preparation for the I-League.

“I am happy that we got good game time against strong opponents and that we scored more than any other team (in the IFA Shield) like always,” he said. “It was important for our preparation – for the selection of players, for the players’ physical condition and their mentality as well.”

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