I-League – Veteran defender Masih Saighani signs for Real Kashmir


Real Kashmir has agreed to a deal with Bangladeshi club Abahani Limited Dhaka for the signing of Afghanistani international Masih Saighani. The 34-year-old has played for Chennaiyin FC and Aizwal FC in the past. His return to India promises to rejuvenate Real Kashmir’s title charge at the I-League this season.

After already having signed Fran Gonzales from Bengaluru FC and striking a deal for Brazilian forward Tiago Adan, the Snow Leopards have one of the best foreign contingents in the I-League. Fran and Saighani are set to lead an impenetrable defense for the Srinagar-based club.

I-League - Veteran defender Masih Saighani signs for Real Kashmir Saighaniii
Saighani in action for Aizawl FC in a match against East Bengal FC

Kabul-born Saighani spent 14 years of his professional career in Germany, plying trade for various clubs in regional leagues and the fourth and fifth divisions of German football.

In the 2017/18 season, Saighani made his first foray out of Europe when he signed for then I-League champions Aizawl FC. He represented The People’s Club in the I-League, an AFC Champions League qualifier, the AFC Cup, and the Hero Super Cup.

After two years in India, Saighani joined Bangladeshi outfit Abahani Dhaka and lifted the Bangladeshi Premier League with them in the 2019 season. He returned to India and donned the blue of Chennaiyin FC in 2020, making 11 appearances for them, scoring one goal.

After spending another year in Bangladesh, Saighani leaves the Bangla Tigers to join the Snow Leopards.

I-League - Veteran defender Masih Saighani signs for Real Kashmir Saighanii
Saighani for Abahani Dhaka

The Afghanistani’s distinct knack for scoring goals is a unique attribute to his game. In the 2019 AFC Cup, He recorded 3 goals and 1 assist in 6 games for Abahani Dhaka. He is not the only new defensive signing for his club who scores a lot of goals. Fran Gonzales’ exploits in the attacking third are well known to all Indian football faithfuls.

An extremely interesting defensive partnership with Fran Gonzales promises to build as any opposing defense will dread having the two in their penalty box during set-pieces. Exciting times are ahead for Real Kashmir fans as the club’s quest for the elusive I-League gains pace.

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