Promising Indian youngsters from Hero ISL 2016
Yet another season of the Hero Indian Super League saw some promising Indian youngsters catching the eye through some breathtaking displays. These players had to compete with some really experienced Indian and foreign names in terms of carving a niche for themselves and despite the odds stacked against them; they managed to give a solid account of themselves. Here indiansuperleague.com looks at some of these youngsters who, either in their debut season or coming-of-age year, set Hero ISL 2016 ablaze.
Jerry Lalrinzuala, 18 (Chennaiyin FC)
Left-back Jerry Lalrinzuala showcased some amazing football throughout the season for the Super Machans. This was his first stint in the Hero ISL but he never looked out of place and made his presence felt in all matches. The defender kept it tight at the back and made crucial tackles and interceptions besides not allowing opposition attackers much room to utilise. His lightning quick pace down the left flank saw him score once and provide twice. He drew a lot of praise from head coach Marco Materazzi and was rightly chosen ISL Emerging Player of the Season.
Abinash Ruidas, 21 (Atlético de Kolkata)
One of the finest wingers this season, ATK’s Abinash Ruidas proved to be a natural when it came to attacking from the flanks. He could outpace his opponents with ease and put in useful, accurate crosses from the left. The opposition defences had a hard time dealing with him and his speedy runs. He made nine appearances in his debut season and got an assist to his name. Not much endowed in the physique stakes, Ruidas more than made up with his amazing trickery in his debut season.
Sahil Tavora, 22 (FC Goa)
FC Goa may have had a campaign to forget but one of their youngsters, Sahil Tavora, displayed some good football on the pitch. The talented midfielder made six appearances for the Gaurs and scored twice. He had good pace and could dissect any defence with ease. While Goa’s performance wasn’t up to scratch, Tavora caught everyone’s attention with his quality display. He scored a brace in Goa’s thrilling 5-4 win over Chennaiyin FC in their last game of the season.
Prabir Das, 23 (Atlético de Kolkata)
Champions ATK’s right-back Prabir Das played a crucial role in his team’s title-winning campaign after being condemned to the sidelines with FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos FC in the first two seasons. The defender always stood firm in the backline for ATK this season, proving a tough nut to crack for opposition attackers. Being quick, he was very difficult to outpace and stood his ground more often than not. Das made 12 appearances for his team and his potential was there for all to see.
Amrinder Singh, 23 (Mumbai City FC)
Mumbai’s shot-stopper Amrinder Singh put in a superb goalkeeping performance in the league. Coming late into the season because of AFC Cup participation, the former ATK man had a total of five clean sheets in his six matches. Throughout that period, he made a number of fine saves and dealt with the ball calmly. He was one of the main reasons behind Mumbai’s great defensive record this season.
Milan Singh, 24 (Delhi Dynamos FC)
Delhi Dynamos FC midfielder Milan Singh had a memorable campaign with the Lions this season. Having previously made five appearances for NorthEast United FC in the 2014 season, this was the youngster’s breakthrough year. He was very quick and his ball control was excellent, outfoxing defenders on many occasions. He made 15 appearances this season and bagged two goals. Playing alongside the likes of Florent Malouda and Marcelinho, Milan made his presence felt and that was no mean feat.
Lalrindika Ralte, 24 (Atlético de Kolkata)
Kolkata midfielder Lalrindika Ralte showcased some fine football in the middle of the park. With crisp passing and some strong, darting runs, Ralte had a high work rate that helped Kolkata’s cause greatly. Having played for Mumbai City FC in the first season, Ralte came up with some good performances and notched up a goal and two assists in his 13 appearances this year. He scored the important opening goal against Mumbai City FC in the home leg of their semi-final.
Kean Lewis, 24 (Delhi Dynamos FC)
Delhi Dynamos forward Kean Lewis displayed some excellent attacking prowess in his debut season. With some quick footwork, powerful runs and clinical finishing, Lewis was a major contributor in Delhi’s successful campaign. He notched up four goals and two assists - joint-highest in terms of goals contribution for an Indian - and gave opposition defenders a tough time. He used the flanks to good effect and often created a lot of space at will.
Rowllin Borges, 24 (NorthEast United FC)
Borges was the anchorman for NorthEast United, putting in some disciplined performances for his team this year. He was always at hand to clear danger and break down opposition attacks. The Highlanders narrowly missed out on the semi-final but Borges’ contributions, to a large extent, helped his team come that close. Borges attracted a lot of praise from legendary Brazilian Zico in his debut season.