Becomes the first player from Nagaland to play in Indian Super League
Kohima, April 10 (EMN): Indian Super League (ISL) club NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) has signed Gokulam Kerala FC (GKFC) striker Kivi Zhimomi for three years, Eastern Mirror can confirm.
Zhimomi is the first footballer from Nagaland to be signed by an ISL club. He will be joining the NEUFC team in August this year.
The 22-year-old footballer from Nagaland debuted in the I-League with GKFC in January on loan this year and also caught the attention of the national clubs after scoring scored two goals in his 11 appearances for the club (8 starts and 3 as substitute).
NorthEast United FC and GKFC finished at the bottom two of the table in their respective leagues. Northeast United FC is owned by John Abraham and based in Guwahati, Assam.
Eastern Mirror in a recent interview with Zhimomi revealed that he has received offers to play I-League and ISL next season. He, however, choose NEUFC saying that he wanted to fill the gap between the other states of Northeast and Nagaland to represent Nagaland for the club as NEUFC was the apex football club from the Northeast.
“In the first place, I thanked the almighty god, for this achievement is the result of my trust in him. I am overjoyed to be the first Naga football player to sign for the Indian Super League. I also feel proud for making my state’s first entry in ISL history. In fact, it has been my motive since the inception of ISL. I was in a dilemma before I signed for NEUFC as I have been receiving offers from other renowned clubs and finally I chose Northeast United FC.
“Eight states represent northeast India and NEUFC being the apex football club for the northeast has no single Naga player. You know, one can find at least a player from other states but sadly until now not even a single player from Nagaland. Then I have decided to sign for NEUFC to fill the gap between the other states of northeast and Nagaland. I also want to establish myself as one of the finest players in the future through NEUFC,” Zhimomi told Eastern Mirror on Tuesday.
Roko Angami, president of Nagaland Football Coaches Association, an AFC ‘B’ certified coach and the first footballer from Nagaland to play in the national league shared his views: “I am really very proud to say that our Naga footballers are coming up, to play outside and become a professional player.”
William Koso assistant coach at Aizawl FC and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) ‘A’ licensed coach said: “It is a lifetime opportunity for him (Zhimomi), getting a big break like this one, hope he can maintain himself. It will also boost to the morale of other upcoming players; finally, we are on the football map. Kivi is a hardworking and dedicated player, he has a passion and right attitude, and he was with me at Kohima Komets for two seasons. I wish him all the best.”
It may be mentioned Zhimomi was born and brought up in Dimapur and is the youngest of six children. He is a product of the State Football Academy in Dimapur where he started his career in football in 2010.
He has also played for Mohammedan Sporting Club at Kolkata and Rangdajied United FC at Shillong.