East Bengal FC rope in winger Nandhakumar Sekar on a three-year contract
Sekar had a phenomenal run with Odisha FC last season, playing a vital role in their maiden Hero Super Cup triumph, their maiden Hero Indian Super League (ISL) playoff qualification and first-ever entry into the AFC Cup.
East Bengal FC announced the signature of winger Nandhakumar Sekar on a three-year contract on Saturday. Sekar had a phenomenal run with Odisha FC last season, playing a vital role in their maiden Hero Super Cup triumph, their maiden Hero Indian Super League (ISL) playoff qualification and first-ever entry into the AFC Cup.
Commenting on Nandha’s recruitment, Mr Debabrata Mukherjee of Emami Group said, “We are very excited to welcome Nandha to the Emami East Bengal family. He had a stellar performance last season and we are confident he will reach even greater heights under the watchful guidance of Coach Carles and his staff."
East Bengal FC head coach Mr Carles Cuadrat believes that Nandha’s addition will bolster his team’s attacking prowess. He said, “We are pleased to bring Nandhakumar on board. He is someone who has gradually improved over the years and is currently in the prime phase of his career. He was fantastic last season, in both the Hero ISL and the Hero Super Cup, and played a massive role in Odisha FC’s Hero Super Cup victory. I am sure that he will add a lot of value to our attack.”
27-year-old Sekar featured in 95% of Odisha’s matches last season and finished with 15+ goal contributions, including 11 goals across all competitions. In the process, he became the third-highest Indian scorer in Hero ISL 2022-23 and the leading Indian scorer in Hero Super Cup 2023. The Salem-based winger registered six goals and one assist in 20 Hero ISL matches last season as the Juggernauts secured a top six finish and advanced into the playoffs for the first time since their inception. Nandha’s stellar performance aptly earned him his maiden senior national team call-up for the ongoing Hero Intercontinental Cup and the upcoming SAFF Championship.
For Sekar, who’s ready to embark on his Kolkata sojourn, signing for East Bengal FC is a dream come true. He said, “Every footballer in the country dreams of playing for a big club like East Bengal. I am in that phase of my career where I want to embrace new challenges and take my game to the next level. I scored my first goal in professional football against East Bengal while playing for Chennai City FC in 2017. Now, as I have gotten a chance to represent this historic club, I want to give my best and help my team reach new heights. I can’t wait to wear the Red & Gold jersey and feel the love of the fans.”
Having risen through the youth ranks of the Chennai-based outfit Hindustan Eagles, Nandha made his professional debut with Chennai City FC during the 2017-18 Hero I-League. The following season, the talented winger joined the now defunct Delhi Dynamos FC on a oneyear loan deal before the franchise relocated its home base to Odisha. During his five-year spell at Odisha FC between 2018 and 2023, Nandha scored 9 goals and made 7 assists in 73 Hero ISL appearances.