The No. 21 on his back for the upcoming Indian Super League season will be another centre-back, youngster Bejoy Varghese, who has just extended his contract with the Kochi club until 2025. Interestingly, the club decided to deal public on Thursday 21 April.
Santhosham through and through! 💛Hear from Bijoy after his contract extension to 2025 🎥… https://t.co/d6sWm0c8ml
— Kerala Blasters FC (@KeralaBlasters) 1650549199000
The 22-year-old defender from Thiruvananthapuram has played for the Blasters reserves in the Kerala Premier League since 2021 before moving to the first team in the 2021/22 ISL season and during the campaign in which Blasters made five games and reached the final .
The Blasters hope Bijoy will repeat the feats of Jhingan, who joined the club in 2014 as a 21-year-old and helped the club reach two finals while becoming a huge fan favorite and club captain in the process.
𝗣𝗔𝗚𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗬𝗘𝗟𝗟𝗢𝗪 𝗔𝗥𝗠𝗬 𝗔𝗥𝗠𝗬 Our new number 2️⃣1️⃣ is 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘴𝘴𝘴𝘵𝘰 👊🏽 # Bijoy2025 #yennumyellow #KBFC # കേരളബ്ലാസ്റ്റേഴ്സ്
— Kerala Blasters FC (@KeralaBlasters) 1650540775000
Jhingan left the club with intentions to pursue a career abroad in 2020, when the club also “permanently” retired his shirt number to honor his services. Jhingan has since returned to play for ATK Mohun Bagan in ISL after a brief stint with Croatian club HNK Sibenik.
In February 2022, Jhingan had sparked controversy over his sexist remarks after a 2-2 draw with Blasters and Blasters supporters had urged the club to bring back the number 21 in a bid to denounce the India international. And the Blasters are now obliged to hand that number over to young Bijoy.
“I’m really excited to be a part of Blasters for a long time. I’m really happy to work under coach Ivan (Vukomanovic) and intend to work harder, improve my game and sharpen my skills. I hope to bring memories to all the passionate fans of the club by giving my 100 per cent in all the games I play,” Bijoy said after signing the overtime.
“Bijoy is a great example that anything is possible, he worked hard and never gave up. I hope he will be a positive example for all young players starting in KBFC youth,” said the club’s sporting director Karolis Skinkys.
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