Rahul KP – Rising Star of Indian Football | ISL 2020-21

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This is a series for identifying the emerging players of the seventh edition of the Indian Super League. The players chosen are either aged under 23 or are playing their maiden or the second season in the Indian Super League.

Rahul KP, is a professional footballer, who hails from the town of Thrissur in Kerala. The 20-year-old currently plays as a winger/forward for his club, Kerala Blasters FC. He has represented Indian national football team at various youth levels among which the most prominent in his career is the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017.

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He has spent his youth career with the Kerala State Football Team, AIFF Elite Academy, and have made ten appearances for the India U17, and India U20 team. He was the top scorer in the 2013 National Championship under-14 category, held in Kolkata. He was chosen to the AIFF Elite Academy, which was preparing for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup to be hosted in India, upon seeing his championship results. He has then went on to appear for the India U23 team as well and has also made 37 appearances for the Indian Arrows team and scored 5 goals for them.

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Before joining Kerala Blasters FC, largely played for the Indian Arrows in the I-League from 2017 till 2019. He signed for Kerala Blasters FC on March 19th, 2019 and went on to debut for the club on October 24th, 2019. On November 22, in the 34th minute of the match against Hyderabad FC, he scored his first competitive goal for the club through an assist by Sahal Abdul Samad as Kerala blasters lost 2-1 and became the club’s second youngest goal-scorer after Deependra Negi. Albeit he was ruled out because of injury in most matches, Rahul made a total of eight appearances during the season.

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He scored his first goal of the 2020-21 season in the South Indian Derby against Bengaluru FC on 13 December. On 20 January 2021, Rahul once again scored against Bengaluru FC. In the 94th minute of the game, he scored the vital winner, sealing the victory for the Blasters.

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Rahul KP is a versatile player and he has been seen in the past playing in defensive roles as well. Although, Rahul predominantly plays in the left flank and can be used as a right winger as well. Naturally, he is right-footed and is renowned for his pace, explosiveness and rate of work. He was deployed in some games as a forward as well. In the 6th season of Indian Super League, he was recorded as the fastest runner in the league with a pace of over 35 kilometres per hour.

Rahul’s influence in the team can be through his pace, accuracy, and goal scoring ability. He is a good header of the ball as well.

On this note, the former Kerala Blasters FC gaffer and tactician Eelco Schattorie had his say on the player,

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“Rahul; he’s a player who has a key quality in football and that is his scoring ability along with the speed that he possesses. Both are the most valuable assets that a player can have. He has the personality to be mentally strong and make all work for him. So, he’s a real diamond.”

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Rahul KP can do a lot with the ball on his feet and he has proved it in several matches as well. He is tactically flexible, tenacious, and he is a goalscorer as well. Rahul KP can shoot with both his feet and one of his biggest strengths is the ability to adapt into any specific style of game. According to what Eelco Schattorie mentioned, during the shooting practice sessions, Rahul KP almost always used to hit the target.

Rahul KP updated on October 1st that he extended his contract with Kerala Blasters FC and that he’ll be staying with the outfit till May 31st, 2025. With the right people around him and in the right atmosphere, the lad will prosper into heights that’ll make the Indians proud.

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Kaushal Subramaniam M R
An aspiring Singer/Songwriter/Musician/Writer. Doing Journalism and Mass Communication at SRM Chennai. Native place Manjeri, Malappuram, Kerala.

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