Kolkata, 28 June 2024
Emami East Bengal FC has retained the services of full-backs Mohamad Rakip and Nishu Kumar. Rakip has signed a two-year extension that will run until the end of the 2025-26 season. Nishu, who joined Emami East Bengal from Kerala Blasters FC on a one-year loan deal last year, has signed a one-year extension with the Red & Golds on a permanent transfer.

Commenting on the full-back duo’s extension, Mr Vibhash Vardhan Agarwal of Emami Group said, “Both Rakip and Nishu were important members of our Kalinga Super Cup-winning squad. They know how to handle the pressure of playing for a big club like East Bengal and have shown rapid progress under Coach Cuadrat.”

Emami East Bengal FC Head Coach Carles Cuadrat said, “Rakip and Nishu shone in important moments throughout the season, especially at the Kalinga Super Cup. Rakip was not getting enough playing time here before my arrival. However, he gradually made good use of the chances that I gave him and is a much improved player now. He is still pretty young and we need to give him more opportunities to grow as a player and develop his numbers in both defence and attack.”

Cuadrat added, “Nishu has gradually been returning to the form that he showed under me at Bengaluru FC and which helped him reach the National Team. He was a key member of our Kalinga Super Cup-winning squad. Nishu not only did well in defence, but also provided assists in crucial games throughout the season. It’s great to retain him for another season.”

Since joining Emami East Bengal FC in 2022, Rakip has so far played 38 top-flight matches besides helping the team in crucial Calcutta Football League games. The speedy right-back was a starter in each of East Bengal’s 5 Kalinga Super Cup fixtures and played a vast majority of the team’s ISL 2023-24 matches (19). The former ISL-winner logged 8 interceptions, 18 tackles, 39 successful duels, 9 successful aerial duels, 3 blocks, 49 recoveries and 29 clearances in ISL 2023-24.

Rakip, now 24, expressed his joy at continuing with Emami East Bengal FC, saying, “East Bengal has brought the best out of me. I would love to thank Coach Carles and the Emami East Bengal management for giving me enough playing time. I love this club and will continue giving my best for the fans.”

26-year-old Nishu, on the other hand, was East Bengal’s top assist-provider in the previous season with 5 assists across 4 Kalinga Super Cup and 20 ISL matches. Playing in both left-back and right-back positions, the ambipedal defender made 20 ISL appearances last season, registering 16 interceptions, 67 successful duels, 21 successful aerial duels, 4 blocks, 66 recoveries and 35 clearances. He also reached the milestone of making 100 ISL appearances last season.

Delighted to extend his stay at Emami East Bengal FC, Nishu said, “I am very happy to continue my journey with the Red & Gold Brigade. I am grateful to Coach Cuadrat and the Emami East Bengal management for helping me regain my confidence. I’ll forever cherish our Super Cup victory and do everything possible to bring more joy to the fans.”

The registration of the players is subject to completion of regulatory processes.