A complete overview of the retained players ahead of the Hero ISL Draft
All 10 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clubs will be looking to outdo one another by securing the services of the best unsigned domestic talents during the Hero ISL draft in Mumbai on Sunday. The draft will see the clubs choosing the best from more than 200 players ahead of the fourth edition of the league, which will feature two new teams – Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC – in what is certain to be a riveting five-month season, slated to begin later this year.
A few players though will not feature in the Hero ISL draft having already being retained by their respective clubs in compliance with ISL’s rule, which allows a team to retain a maximum of two senior players. Reigning champions Atlético de Kolkata were quick to retain goalkeeper Debjit Majumder and Prabir Das, while last year’s runners-up Kerala Blasters FC made sure fan-favourites CK Vineeth and Sandesh Jhingan will be wearing yellow once again this season.
Hero ISL 2016’s league stage toppers, Mumbai City FC confirmed last season’s Golden Glove winner Amrinder Singh and Sehnaj Singh as their two retained players, whereas Delhi Dynamos FC decided against keeping any member of their squad for the upcoming season. Winners in 2015, Chennaiyin FC ensured they kept Hero ISL’s all-time top domestic scorer Jeje Lalpekhlua within their ranks alongside custodian Karanjit Singh.
Goalkeepers, in fact, seem to be at a premium with FC Goa’s Laxmikanth Kattimani, FC Pune City’s Vishal Kaith and NorthEast United FC’s TP Rehenesh, all retained by their respective teams. Mandar Rao Dessai and Rowllin Borges were Goa and NorthEast’s other retained players respectively. Hero ISL debutants Bengaluru FC named India’s all-time top-scorer Sunil Chhetri and youngster Udanta Singh as their two retentions.
The clubs were also given the option of retaining under-21 players, however, only five teams decided to retain youngsters. Kerala chose to retain forward Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, while Pune decided to keep hold of Ashique Kuruniyan, who plies his trade on the wings. Rakesh Oram was Mumbai’s sole retention from among the under-21s.
Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC, on the other hand, opted to keep two under-21 players in their squad. The Blues named Nishu Kumar and Malsawmzuala as their two under-21s retained, and Chennaiyin FC confirmed Anirudh Thapa and Hero ISL 2016’s Emerging Player, Jerry Lalrinzuala as the two youngsters they’ve chosen to retain.