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I-League: Haroon Amiri - Signing for Gokulam Kerala was an easy decision

07:02 GMT+3 22/11/2019
Haroon Amiri Afghanistan
Afghanistan defender Haroon Amiri did not have a great stint the last time he was in India...

Haroon Amiri maybe an Afghanistan international but India is his second home. He has built a career in India and his next destination is Kozhikode. 

The 32-year-old centre-back knows Indian football back to front. He has played for Mumbai FC, Dempo, Chennai City FC, DSK Shivajians in I-League and FC Goa in the first edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). 

"Indian football gave me so much, India is my second home. The league is growing, especially the I-League, which is more competitive now. They are competing with the ISL teams, it is fantastic," he told Goal

The Gokulam Kerala defender's last assignment in India, with Chennai City,  didn't go according to plan. He had a tiff with the then coach V Soundararajan and had to terminate his contract. The coach had  accused Amiri of refusing to take the field as a substitute in Chennai's league game against Bengaluru FC

"I had a very bad experience with Chennai City. I don't know where (Soundararajan) came from, he was not aware of the players who had been playing there for many years. Then there were a lot of lies. In the end, we sorted things out, they paid me my money and I left," the player recollected. 

Soundararajan was later sacked by the club and he was replaced with Akbar Nawas who led the club to a league title last season. 

Amiri further added, "The coach lied in the media that I didn't want to play for them. You can ask anyone, for any team I play, I'm always dying to play, I have never refused to play. A very bad experience at Chennai due to the coach. It's in the past now, they've become the champions, congratulations to them."

The 2019-20 season of I-League will have the Afghan defender in Gokulam Kerala's colours. For the player, the decision to join the Malabarians was an easy one to make. 

"When Gokulam called me, I spoke with Praveen (President) and the project is good. Their thoughts on the league are fantastic, they want to win, I want to win so the decision was easy. They wanted me and wanted to win the league. I hope we can do well and achieve our goal."

At the Kozhikode-based club, Amiri will be joined by familiar faces in Bruno Pelissari and Mohammed Irshad. 

"I haven't met all of the players, I met Bruno (Pelissari). He has fantastic quality and I'm sure we'll do well, I'm looking forward to playing with him. Irshad was with me at DSK, he's a fantastic player. We can all help each other.

The defender also had a message for his former club FC Goa, where unlike Chennai City, he had a good time. 

"Goa were always good, now also they're the best. Fantastic management, they're always doing the right thing. Their people love football. I hope they win ISL this year," he signed off.