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Back in Kerala after years, Joby targets title with Gokulam

“I want playing time. I’ll be happy only when I play, and I think Gokulam will be perfect for this," Justin said.

Back in Kerala after years, Joby targets title with Gokulam

Joby Justin (Source: AIFF)


Press Release

Published: 4 Feb 2023 9:00 AM GMT

After playing for some of the biggest clubs in India, Kerala boy Joby Justin is back home. The 29-year-old joined Kozhikode-based Gokulam Kerala FC last month and wasted no time in scoring for his new club.

Even before he could score with a flying header against Real Kashmir in his maiden appearance for the Hero I-League defending champions, supporters in the stands were crying, "Joby! Joby!". Being appreciated by the football lovers of one's own state is always special for any player. It becomes clear when Justin talks about his first goal in a Gokulam jersey.

"I've been missing this feeling for a long time," he says. "I've always wanted to score goals, and I've scored more with my head than my feet. We were training for set pieces the day before the match and thankfully, that helped. The crowd support was good that day, and scoring in front of them is an altogether different feeling."

Speaking further about the move to Gokulam, he says, "I can't tell you how happy I am to wear Gokulam colours. As a famous dialogue from the movie Nadodikkattu goes – 'Everything takes its own time'. I believe this was the best time to come back to Kerala and play for a team from my state."

However, Justin is not somebody who would be content with that. "I would be happier if I can win the I-League title with the Malabarians," he remarks.

Having played for clubs like East Bengal, ATK and Chennaiyin, and also donned the blue of India, Justin is very conscious about the fact that he already has had a career few can only dream of.

"It was my childhood dream to become a footballer. And I'm lucky to have played for major clubs both in Bengal and Kerala," he elaborates. "Both states are well-known for their passion for football. If you play well, they just love you. It is a privilege not every footballer gets in India."

Justin went on to explain the move from Hero Indian Super League club Chennaiyin FC to Hero I-League heavyweights Gokulam Kerala.

"I didn't get enough game time in the last two seasons, but I was confident about my performance," he says. "I want playing time. I'll be happy only when I play, and I think Gokulam will be perfect for this. Last year, we were champions. I know the players here. This is my own state, and the club is very ambitious. That's why I decided to join."

Gokulam have a very young coach in Francesc Bonet, and Justin is full of praise for the Spaniard.

"As it is, I like the style Spanish coaches adopt. When I was playing for East Bengal, we had a Spanish coach (Alejandro Menéndez). Moreover, Francesc is very accommodating and adapts to people quickly," he opined.

"I think I've already adjusted to his playing style. I feel very comfortable working with him," Justin added.

The Malabarians will hope this partnership grows from strength to strength as the Hero I-League moves to the final stages.

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