Chennaiyin rope in goalkeeping duo of Sanjiban, Nikhil

Chennai, June 7 (IANS) Indian Super League holders Chennaiyin FC on Thursday announced the signing of goalkeepers Sanjiban Ghosh and Nikhil Bernard on a two-year and one-year deal respectively.

Sanjiban, 26, arrives on a free transfer after spending the 2017-18 season with Jamshedpur FC while 28-year-old Nikhil Bernard joins the two-time ISL champions following the expiry of his contract at I-League outfit Gokulam Kerala FC.

The duo joins the experienced and two-time ISL winning custodian Karanjit Singh, who had signed a two year deal in July 2017.

“Joining the ISL champions is a huge achievement for me. I would like to thank the Chennaiyin management for bringing me onboard.

I’m eagerly looking forward to joining the squad in pre-season and help the club retain the title,” said an excited Sanjiban, who deputized for Subrata Paul at Jamshedpur FC last season, making one appearance in the ISL.

Nikhil too is relishing the challenge and said: “I am very happy to join Chennaiyin FC. They are a fantastic club with a brilliant coach and management. I am really excited for this next chapter in my career.”

Head Coach John Gregory welcomed the arrivals, reiterating the importance of competition for places in the squad.

“Sanjiban and Nikhil are solid custodians with very good potential and attitude. It is going to be the biggest season in the club’s history as we are also going to be involved in the AFC Cup so healthy competition is required in each position including the goalkeeping department. I look forward to working with them,” Gregory said.

Sanjiban recently received a call-up to the 30-man preliminary India national squad for the four-nation Intercontinental Cup that got underway in Mumbai on June 1.

The Bengali shot-stopper started his career with local Kolkata club Southern Samity before playing in the I-League for Mumbai FC. In the ISL he was part of the Delhi Dynamos squad that reached the playoffs in the second and third editions.

He was Jamshedpur FC’s star in their penalty shootout victory over I-League champions Minerva Punjab in the Super Cup last season.

Bengaluru-born Nikhil started his career with local club HAL, for whom he played in both the National Football League and I-League. He then had a spell at Shillong’s Royal Wahingdoh and was instrumental in their third place finish in the 2014-15 I-League.

After short stints with Bengaluru FC and Ozone FC, Nikhil joined I-League newcomers Gokulam Kerala FC last season and made seven appearances for them in all competitions including a heroic display in the win over ISL outfit NorthEast United in the Super Cup.

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