Kanyakumari King to the Malabar Coast: Michael Soosairaj Signs for Gokulam Kerala FC

Micheal Soosairaj in Odisha Fc colors

Gokulam Kerala FC, the former I-League and Durand Cup champions, have made a significant signing in the form of winger Michael Soosairaj. The 29-year-old brings a wealth of experience, having played for champion sides like Chennai City and ATK FC. The former Odisha FC winger adds much-needed firepower to a side desperate for a return to the top of the I-League and to secure a promotion to the Indian Super League (ISL).

Breathtaking run on the left wing, a sharp turn to cut inside the box, and a right-footed curler to the right top corner of the goal post, we all know the modus operandi of Soosairaj. His ability to unleash scorchers adds another dimension to the Gokulam Kerala attack, making him a threat from all areas of the pitch.

Gokulam Kerala’s hunger for the I-League title is no secret. They dominated the league, winning back-to-back titles in 2020-21 and 2021-22 which were held behind closed doors due to the COVID pandemic. However, the past two seasons have seen a slight dip in their performance, finishing third on both occasions. As the Malabarians have set lofty standards, a third-place finish is considered a failure by the ultras of the club.

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The previous season exposed some weaknesses in the Gokulam Kerala squad. Despite investing heavily and bringing in experienced players like Edu Bedia, the team failed to live up to expectations. This season also won’t be a cakewalk for the Malabarians as teams like Srrenidi Deccan and Inter Kashi do have the intent to build a strong and challenge for the title. The two key local players, Sreekuttan and Noufal, have left the squad for greener pastures. Soosairaj’s arrival is a strategic move to address these shortcomings.

Born in the coastal district Kanyakumari of Tamil Nadu, he started his professional journey with Arrow Football Club in the CFA Senior Division. His breakthrough came in 2016 when he signed for Chennai City FC, coinciding with the club’s induction into the I-League through corporate entry.

Michael Soosairaj had a great time at his local club Chennai City FC

Soosairaj quickly made a name for himself with Chennai City. In 32 appearances, he contributed 5 goals and 4 assists, showcasing his attacking prowess. These impressive performances caught the eye of Jamshedpur FC, and the Red Miners secured his services by paying a transfer fee of 25 lakhs. His stint at Jamshedpur was fruitful, yielding 4 goals in 14 matches. This period also saw him receive a call-up to the Indian National Team, to play in the Kings Cup under Igor Stimac.

Soosairaj in ATK FC colors. Image: ISL

Soosairaj’s career trajectory took an unfortunate turn due to injuries. The ACL injury he suffered in 2020, coupled with the lack of proper rehabilitation due to the COVID-19 lockdown, resulted in further setbacks. His playing time significantly decreased in the past four seasons.

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However, he is ready for redemption with the Malabarians and the Gokulam Kerala management understands his potential. His experience in the ISL and his past success in the I-League make him a valuable asset. If he can overcome his injury woes and rediscover his peak form, he could be a game-changer for the men from Kozhikode.

Soosairaj’s signing is a positive step for Gokulam Kerala as they strive to reclaim their position as I-League champions. His pace and skills could fill the missing piece in their quest for promotion to the ISL.