Ahead of the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL 2023-24), Mohun Bagan Super Giant have completed the signing of midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad from Kerala Blasters FC on a five-year contract, while veteran defender Pritam Kotal has headed in the opposite direction, the two clubs announced on Friday.
Sahal Abdul Samad joins Mohun Bagan Super Giant on a five-year contract
Sahal Abdul Samad joins Mohun Bagan Super Giant from Kerala Blasters FC on a five-year contract.
Sahal who has developed into one of the most talented midfielders in India expressed delight at joining the Kolkata giants.
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“I’m filled with pride at the thought of wearing the Mohun Bagan Super Giant jersey. The prospect of playing in the derby, wearing the Green and Maroon jersey, fills me with immense excitement. The stands will be packed with supporters passionately cheering for our team,” said Sahal after putting pen to paper.
“Renowned players from Kerala, such as IM Vijayan and Jo Paul Ancheri, gained recognition by playing for Kolkata clubs, and many others have also represented them. I will speak with them before travelling to Kolkata, seeking their suggestions and blessings. They are still regarded as icons in Kolkata. Similarly, I aspire to win the hearts of the supporters, just as they did. I will seek the blessings and love of the MBSG fans,” he said on making his move to the Kolkata side.
Sahal Abdul Samad Career
Having risen through the ranks from the Blasters’ academy side, Sahal made his ISL debut with Kerala Blasters FC in the 2017-18 season.
The midfielder had his breakthrough campaign in the following 2018-19 season as he won the ISL Emerging Player of the Year award. His exploits with the Blasters earned him a call-up to the Indian national team where he made his debut at the King’s Cup in Thailand.
Sahal’s best performance came in the ISL 2021-22 season under debutant head coach Ivan Vukomanovic as he reached his best figures to date. The midfielder netted six goals and supplied one assist across 21 games, being one of the vital cogs in the side’s run-up to the final.
Having amassed 97 appearances for the Blasters, the 26-year-old leaves the club as the highest-capped player for the Yellow Army. In his 97 appearances, the midfielder has repaid with 10 goals and nine assists across all competitions. His nine assists are the most by any Indian player for the Kochi-based side.
Kerala Blasters FC acquire the services of Pritam Kotal
Kerala Blasters FC, on Friday, announced the signing of Pritam Kotal from Mohun Bagan Super Giant. The former title-winning MBSG captain joins the Blasters having put pen to paper on a three-year contract until 2026.
Commenting on the successful signing of Pritam Kotal and Karolis Skinkys, Kerala Blasters Sporting Director, said, “Pritam is a player with a tremendous work ethic and winning mentality. It is very rare to see players like Pritam who, despite having enjoyed the kind of success that he has enjoyed over the years, still want to reinvent themselves, get better, and maintain their standard of play. He brings a wealth of experience and leadership to our squad. There is no doubt that he is one of the finest players in Indian football. I am elated to have Pritam in our squad and expect nothing but great things from him this upcoming season.”
An elated Pritam Kotal said, “I am delighted to join Kerala Blasters and embark on this new chapter of my career. The club’s rich history and passionate fanbase make it an exciting opportunity for me. I am eager to contribute my skills and leadership to the team and work towards achieving our collective goals. I am grateful for the trust placed in me by Kerala Blasters, and I promise to give my absolute best on the field. Together with my new teammates, I am confident that we will create memorable moments and bring success to the club. I am eagerly looking forward to wearing the Kerala Blasters jersey and making our fans proud. Let’s go, Blasters!”
Pritam Kotal Career
Kotal’s football journey began with the youth team of Chirag United, where an impressive stint opened doors to the India U-19 side. In 2011, Pritam joined the All India Football Federation’s developmental I-League side, Indian Arrows. He made 26 appearances for Arrows before earning a move to Mohun Bagan, in 2013, where he quickly established himself as a first-team regular.
Pritam marked his ISL debut in 2014 with FC Pune City, from Mohun Bagan. He would spend two years there. In a standout 2015, he won the I-League title with Mohun Bagan and also won the I-League’s Best Defender for the year 2015. The trophy collection continued as he picked his maiden ISL trophy with ATK in 2016.
The defender made a permanent switch to ATK in 2018, kickstarting a journey that saw him transform as a player and leader for both Club and Country. Since 2018, Pritam made over 125 appearances for the Club, becoming a vital cog in the team’s defence. Under his leadership and captaincy, the team would go on to lift two more ISL trophies in 2020 and 2023.
Pritam has been just as consistent with Indian National Football Team. Since his debut in 2015, he has been a mainstay in defence and has featured regularly for the Blue Tigers. been a vital cog in the team’s plans. He has made over 50 appearances for the Blue Tigers and has lifted numerous trophies like the SAFF Championship, Intercontinental Cup and Tri Nations Cup with the national team.