Two-time Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC on Saturday confirmed the signing of 23-year-old goalkeeper Vishal Kaith for a long-term permanent contract.
Kaith joins the Chennaiyin FC from Hyderabad FC for an undisclosed fee, after spending the previous three seasons at FC Pune City.
“A new chapter awaits in my career, with a champion club in Chennaiyin FC. Their rich history in the ISL made it a very easy decision for me to come here when the opportunity presented itself,” said Kaith, who is currently in Goa with the Indian senior team ahead of the Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
“I am looking forward to helping the club win more trophies in the years to come. I believe in coach (John Gregory’s) plans and I am certain Chennaiyin is the right destination for me to take my game and career to the next level,” he added.
Kaith, who hails from Rohru town in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, was initially spotted by the state-level football setup. He was then nurtured by the All India Football Federation Elite Academy from 2011 to 2014.
The 6’2 goalkeeper later joined I-League outfit Shillong Lajong and played there for three subsequent seasons, making a name for himself as a budding young custodian.
During his Lajong tenure, he also had a loan spell at FC Pune City for the 2016 ISL campaign. Kaith subsequently made his move to Pune permanent, and was instrumental in FCPC reaching the 2017-’18 ISL semis, contributing with seven clean sheets in 17 appearances that season.
“In Vishal (Kaith), we’re adding a top modern-day goalkeeper to our ranks. He possesses all the qualities and potential to excel at the highest level. With his natural ability and quick reflexes, I am certain Vishal (Kaith) will provide healthy competition in our goalkeeping department as we collectively work towards achieving success in the coming campaign,” said Head Coach John Gregory.
Kaith has progressed through the youth ranks and represented India at the U-16, U-19 and U-23 levels, also recently receiving call-ups to the senior national team squad.
At the 2018 Saff Championships in which the India U-23s finished runners-up, he kept clean sheets against Sri Lanka and Maldives in the group games.
CFC’s eighth summer signing will join the squad in Ahmedabad for pre-season following his duties with the Indian national team.
Karanjit extends stay, midfielder Francisco departs
Goalkeeper Karanjit Singh has also extended his contract with Chennaiyin FC by a year.
In addition to his goalkeeping duties, the 33-year-old would take up the role of CFC goalkeeping coach for the upcoming season.
“The club is entrusting him with the additional responsibility while acknowledging his technical acumen as a custodian and the crucial role he has played in their achievements over the years,” the club said.
Having joined CFC in 2015, double Indian Super League title winner Karanjit will be stepping into his fifth season with the club.
“I am glad the club has entrusted me with the added responsibility of goalkeeping coach along with my primary goalkeeping duties, and I look forward to delivering on both fronts,” he said.
With 61 appearances in all competitions for CFC, the former national team goalkeeper stood out especially in the club’s 2017-18 winning campaign with seven clean sheets in 20 games.
Meanwhile, midfielder Francisco Fernandes has bid adieu to the club after a two-year stint.
(with PTI inputs)