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Mark Zothanpuia joins East Bengal FC on three-year deal

IANS | June 22, 2024 03:27 PM

KOLKATA: East Bengal FC has signed promising India U-23 player Mark Zothanpuia on a three-year contract that will run until the end of the 2026-27 season.

“It’s a dream for any young Indian player to play for a big club like East Bengal. Kolkata is the Mecca of Indian football and I can’t wait to experience the amazing support from the East Bengal fans. I am grateful to Coach Carles and the East Bengal management for showing faith in me, ” said Zothanpuia.

Born in Mizoram, Zothanpuia was part of FC Pune City’s youth team and Hyderabad FC’s reserve team before being promoted to Hyderabad FC’s first team in the 2020-21 season. The 22-year-old rose to prominence in the previous season, starting regularly for Hyderabad FC and emerging as one of their key players. Zothanpuia was part of HFC’s 2021-22 ISL winning Squad.

East Bengal FC Head Coach Carles Cuadrat highlighted Zothanpuia’s versatility, saying, “Mark is a young player with excellent qualities. His versatility will allow us to consider him for different roles to help the team. He has gained a decent amount of ISL experience and is joining Emami East Bengal at the right phase of his career, to reach the next level as a player. We’ll give him the right environment to ensure his growth and success.”

Zothanpuia played a total of 1, 971 minutes across 24 matches (18 in the ISL, 3 in the Kalinga Super Cup and 3 in the Durand Cup) last season. Primarily a midfielder, Zothanpuia seamlessly adapted to the left-back position where his consistency earned him a spot in the India U-23 squad for the friendlies against Malaysia in March this year.

Having played as left back, left wing-back, defensive midfielder and centre back in the 2023-24 ISL, Zothanpuia registered 1 assist, 81% passing accuracy, 23 key passes, 73 successful duels, 95 recoveries, 20 interceptions and 26 clearances, besides creating 24 chances in 18 appearances.

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