Naveen Kumar joins FC Goa from Kerala Blasters, Lalthuammawia moves the other way

Kerala Blasters FC and FC Goa have agreed on a swap deal involving goalkeepers Naveen Kumar and Lalthuammawia Ralte. Naveen, who has made five appearances for Kerala this season, will join the Gaurs on a loan deal for the rest of the campaign while Lalthuammawia will move in the other direction under the same terms.

FC Goa, on Saturday, announced the transfers on social media.

Both custodians have struggled for game time this season. Naveen has started five matches for the Blasters this season, while Lalthuammawia has not featured in Sergio Lobera's starting XI so far this campaign. Both Kerala and Goa have primarily relied on youngsters Dheeraj Singh and Mohammad Nawaz respectively to perform the goalkeeping duties.

For Naveen, the move will mark a return to his old team. The 29-year-old rose to prominence after some good performances for the Gaurs in the 2017-18 season and moved to Kerala before the new season began. Speaking about his return, Naveen said, “I am thrilled to be back with FC Goa. I had a great time last season and I bring with me very positive memories of my time with this great club and its fans. The chance to play in this fantastic team and to again work with Sergio Lobera was something I could not turn down. FC Goa gave me a great opportunity last season and I have built on that. I hope I can show our fans why the club wanted to bring me back.”

Goa head coach Sergio Lobera was delighted with the veteran goalkeeper’s return and stated, “I am very happy to see Naveen back. He is a player that knows our style of football and for us, it is very important that our goalkeeper is aware of that. Additionally, he shares a great camaraderie with the players and that should have a positive impact on the side.”

The Hero ISL 2018-19 season is set to resume after the winter break from January 25 with Kerala hosting ATK. The Gaurs' first engagement in the second half of the season will be a home match against Jamshedpur FC on January 28.

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