Gokulam Kerala FC appoint Gift Raikhan as new technical director

KOCHI: I-League strugglers Gokulam Kerala FC appointed former Aizawl FC and NEROCA FC coach Gift Raikhan as their new technical director on Saturday. Raikhan will oversee the overall sporting activities of the Kozhikode-based outfit. The post for technical director had been left vacant since last September when the club sacked head coach Santiago Valera and brought back Bino George, the then technical director, for another stint as head coach.

Raikhan, who is known for his attacking football previously, led NEROCA FC to the top flight from the I-League second division and helped them finish in the second position in the 2017-18 season. The coach then joined Aizawl FC but resigned from the Mizoram club after a string of bad performance. Raikhan ended his contract with the club in mutual terms after the side suffered a disappointing 0-1 loss against young Indian Arrows last Saturday.

"It is a privilege to work with Gokulam Kerala FC. Kerala is a football-loving state like Manipur and this will be a new challenge for me. I hope we could build a strong team from the state. The club is good and they have a good setup. Their facilities are really good. As the technical director I want to help the club fly high," said Gift Raikhan.

Raikhan who hails from Manipur played as a left back for clubs like Churchill Brothers, Vasco FC, HAL and Pune FC. He began his coaching career with the youth team of Pune FC and soon became the assistant coach of the first team and later joined his NEROCA FC, the club from his state.

"We are really happy to have the service of Gift Raikhan. He has a good track record and he will help us to scale new heights, especially in player development. I wish him all the success at GKFC," said VC Praveen, the president of Gokulam Kerala FC.

Satheevan leaves

Meanwhile, Gokulam's assistant coach Satheevan Balan parted ways with the club after Kerala Sports Council rejected his request to extend the leave. Balan, who was the head coach of the Santosh Trophy winning Kerala side in 2018, joined Gokulam last October after taking a six-month leave from the Kerala Sports Council. Earlier Gokulam's Argentine fitness trainer Emiliano Carlos Bustus had also left the club.