Kozhikode, May 28: Gokulam Kerala have extended the contract of foreign player Sharif Mukhammad for the upcoming season.\r\nThe Afghan national midfielder played a pivotal role for the Malabarians\u2019 previous season to help the club lift its maiden I-League title.\r\nSharif, who played in the defensive midfield position, scored four goals in the 14 matches he played for the Malabarians. He was also the anchorman in Italian coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese\u2019s attacking style with a whopping 799 passes.\r\nHe was a crucial component in the three-man midfield of Gokulam Kerala FC. His free-kick goal paved way for the Malabarians comeback win against TRAU FC in the last match of the ILeague and win the championship.\r\nBorn and brought up in Russia, Sharif started his football journey at the age of seven with the academy of Anzhi Makhachkala, a Russian Premier League club. He was promoted to their senior team and remained at his boyhood club for five years. At Anzhi, he has played along with top footballers such as Roberto Carlos, Willian, and Samuel Eto.\r\nHe later joined Spartak Nalchik, AFC Eskilstuna, and Maziya. At Maziya, he has played AFC Cup. Sharif is a regular starter for the Afghan National team and has made several appearances for them. At present, he is in the Afghan national team camp in Dubai.\r\n\u201cI am glad to renew the contract with Gokulam Kerala FC. Last year it was a memorable experience for me to be with the Malabarians. We want to win more titles in the upcoming year and I hope we will have another superb season ahead,\u201d said Sharif Mukhammad.\r\n\u201cI am so happy to have Sharif for the next season also. He is a top-quality player in our league. He is a strong midfielder with experience in playing in Asia Cup. He is a leader in midfield and he can balance very nicely between attacking and defensive phases. Sharif is also a good freekick taker,\u201d said Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese.\r\n\u201cSharif is a hardworking player and his experience was valuable for us last year. He knows our playing style and his extension is a great boost for our Asia Cup dreams next season,\u201d said Gokulam Gopalan, the Chairman of Gokulam Kerala FC.