Kerala Blasters FC have completed the signing of Japanese forward, Daisuke Sakai, on a one-year contract, the club announced on Saturday. Having played in various countries and leagues in Japan, Thailand, and Belgium, Sakai is a technical, skilled & versatile forward capable of operating in various positions across the front line.

Daisuke has made an impact everywhere he has played. He has 24 goals and 10 assists till date in nearly 150 appearances. Having spent his formative years in Japan, the 26-year-old forward comes with a good footballing background and has also represented Japan at the U-17 and U-20 FIFA World Cup.

Commenting on the signing, Karolis Skinkys, Kerala Blasters Sporting Director, said: “It is great to see Daisuke Sakai join the Kerala Blasters squad. His profile gives the coach more options. He also has experience playing abroad in his career, which I am sure will help him adjust to India easily. I look forward to seeing Daisuke making his mark with Kerala Blasters in the ISL this season.”

“Going to India and playing in a different league will be a new experience for me, which I am very thankful for. I am very grateful that Kerala Blasters have given me this opportunity. By doing well and contributing to the club’s success, I hope to repay the confidence the club has shown in me.”

He is expected to link up with his new teammates in the coming week.

Hyderabad FC complete signing of midfielder Lalchhanhima Sailo

Further adding to the exciting midfield options in the squad, Hyderabad FC have completed the signing of Mizoram-born midfielder Lalchhanhima Sailo, the club announced on Saturday.

The 20-year-old joins HFC on a three-year deal with an option for another year, and will be a part of the squad at the club ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

“I am very happy to join Hyderabad FC and be a part of ISL this season,” said the youngster after putting pen to paper. “With the way the club shows trust in youngsters and what they have achieved as a team, it has been my long desire to be here and I thank the coach and the management for showing the trust in me,” added Sailo expressing his delight.

Having started his professional career with Punjab U15s, Sailo spent three years nurturing his game before joining Indian Arrows, slowly growing into a regular in the first team in the I-League.

Sailo moved on to Aizawl FC in 2022, where he scored three goals in 19 games from a midfield role.

“I want to work hard and contribute to the club’s success while I evolve myself as a better player at the club,” added an excited Sailo.

A hard-working midfielder with a keen eye for a pass, Sailo has 28 appearances for the India U16s while also making it to the U19s not so long ago.

He will be a part of the first team at Hyderabad FC, where he will look to impress and break into the first team ahead of the new season.

East Bengal FC add promising goalkeeper Julfikar Gazi to their ranks

East Bengal FC, on Saturday, announced that they have roped in India U-17 national team goalkeeper Julfikar Gazi on a multi-year contract.

Welcoming Gazi to the East Bengal FC family, Mr Sandeep Agrawal of Emami Goup said, “Gazi is one of the most promising goalkeepers in India at the moment. He has been a vital member of the India U-17 squad and his addition testifies to our zeal to promote young talent.”

Commenting on Gazi’s inclusion, East Bengal FC Head Coach Carles Cuadrat said, “East Bengal FC is trying to build a strong talent pipeline for the future and we are glad to include another India U-17 gem in our team, after Guite and Gurnaj. Gazi is a very talented goalkeeper and the watchful supervision of our Goalkeeping Coach Javi Pinillos will ensure his rapid development.”

For Gazi, the move to Emami East Bengal is a homecoming. Hailing from Basirhat, Gazi represented East Bengal U-13 in the 2018-19 edition of the Hero U-13 Youth League under Tarun Dey’s tutelage. In 2019, he joined the Bengal Football Academy before earning his maiden India U-17 call-up in February 2021.

Delighted to return to the Red & Gold camp, the youngster said, “I am excited to return to East Bengal after almost four years. I have been an ardent East Bengal fan since my childhood, and the opportunity of representing this great club again is a dream come true for me. Both Guite and Gurnaj are good friends of mine and I can’t wait to reunite with my India U-17 teammates. I will try to learn as much as possible from my coaches and senior players, and take my game to the next level.”

Bengaluru FC’s Edmund Lalrindika moves to Inter Kashi on loan

Bengaluru FC, on Saturday, announced that winger Edmund Lalrindika will spend the 2022-23 on loan with I-League side Inter Kashi. This is set to be Lalrindika’s second loan stint since joining Bengaluru FC in 2018.

Lalrindika missed the ISL 2022-23 season for Bengaluru FC owing to an injury. He was part of Bengaluru FC’s Durand Cup 2023 campaign, where the Blues finished unbeaten in their group.

A graduate of the AIFF Elite Academy, Lalrindika has represented the India U20 team. He joined Indian Arrows on loan in 2017 before being signed by Bengaluru FC’s reserve team. 

He made his ISL debut during the 2018-19 season and made 11 appearances for the Blues in the league.

Chennaiyin sign India U-17 star Thanglalsoun Gangte

Chennaiyin FC have roped in promising young Manipuri striker Thanglalsoun Gangte on a multi-year deal ahead of the Hero ISL 2023-24 season on Sunday.

The 17-year-old sensation, who captured the attention of Indian football enthusiasts with some remarkable performances for India U-17 side, became the 10th Indian signing to join Marina Machans this season.

Gangte played a vital role in India’s fourth SAFF U-17 Championship title last year with four goals—joint highest, and also made heads turn by scoring a crucial last-minute equaliser against one of the world’s top clubs, Real Madrid, during India’s preparatory match for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup earlier this year.

Gangte possesses immense talent and potential to become India’s future football star and joining Chennaiyin FC, which is committed towards nurturing and developing young talents, will help him further develop his skills and make a significant growth in his career.

“Firstly I thank God and Chennaiyin FC for believing in me. If God is willing I'm looking forward to create more history together here as a family. I am not only representing the club but my family and my people who are suffering back home. God is good,” elated Gangte said on joining the two-time ISL Cup winners.

After a quarter-final finish in the recent Durand Cup, Chennaiyin are currently preparing for the upcoming Hero ISL season under head coach Owen Coyle.