Hero ISL stars dominate I-League squads

Hero ISL stars dominate I-League squads

Hero Indian Super League 2016 may have ended last month but action-packed football continues as ten teams do battle to be crowned champions of the 2017 Hero I-League, which got underway this past weekend. Predictably enough, Hero ISL stars have turned out to be in big demand from almost every club in the I-League.

Reigning champions Bengaluru FC have as many as 11 Hero ISL superstars within their ranks. They feature Hero ISL 2016’s Golden Glove award winner and Mumbai City FC’s shot-stopper Amrinder Singh between the sticks. Their defence has the likes of Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters FC), Salam Ranjan Singh (NorthEast United FC), Keegan Pereira (Atlético de Kolkata) and Rino Anto (Kerala Blasters FC). Delhi Dynamos FC duo Alwyn George and Malsawmzuala provide options in midfield as FC Pune City’s Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Kerala Blasters' CK Vineeth also add to Bengaluru’s depth at the centre of the park. Mumbai City FC’s Sunil Chhetri and Chennaiyin FC’s Daniel Lalhlimpuia will take charge up front for the Bengaluru team.

Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan also have several of Hero ISL’s biggest names in their team. Atlético de Kolkata’s Debjit Majumder and Shilton Paul along with Chennaiyin FC’s Pawan Kumar are Mohun Bagan’s options in goal. In defence, the Mariners have Sanjay Balmuchu (FC Goa), Pritam Kotal (Atlético de Kolkata), Shouvik Ghosh (NorthEast United FC), Eduardo Ferreira (FC Pune City), Anas Edathodika (Delhi Dynamos FC), Kinshuk Debnath (Atlético de Kolkata), Raju Gaikwad (FC Goa), Souvik Chakraborty (Delhi Dynamos FC), Prabir Das (Atlético de Kolkata) and Pronay Halder (Mumbai City FC). Their midfield has loads of experience with Bikramjit Singh (Atlético de Kolkata), Sehnaj Singh (Mumbai City FC), Kean Lewis (Delhi Dynamos FC), Sony Norde (Mumbai City FC) and Katsumi Yusa (NorthEast United FC, all battling for places in the middle of the park. Hero ISL’s all-time leading domestic scorer Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin FC) will be spearheading the attack for Mohun Bagan.

Bitter-rivals East Bengal also have a large chunk of their team made up of Hero ISL players. The Red and Gold Brigade have Subhasish Roy Chowdhury (FC Goa) and TP Rehenesh (NorthEast United FC) in goal as well as Narayan Das (FC Pune City), Robert Lalthlamuana (Atlético de Kolkata), Arnab Mondal (Atlético de Kolkata), Gurwinder Singh (Kerala Blasters FC) and Rahul Bheke (FC Pune CIty) in defence. Mehtab Hossain (Kerala Blasters FC), Mohammed Rafique (Kerala Blasters FC), Lalrindika Ralte (Atlético de Kolkata), Bikash Jairu (Atlético de Kolkata), Abinash Ruidas (Atlético de Kolkata), David Lalrinmuana (Mumbai City FC) and Robin Singh (FC Goa) are also a part of the Kolkata heavyweights.

Mumbai FC, meanwhile, have Kunal Sawant (Kerala Blasters FC) and Laxmikanth Kattimani (FC Goa) as their goalkeepers. Kim Kima (Delhi Dynamos FC), Munmun Lugun (Mumbai City FC), Pratik Chowdhary (Kerala Blasters FC) and Reagan Singh (NorthEast United FC) will solidify their backline, while Pratesh Shirodkar (FC Goa), Siam Hanghal (Chennaiyin FC), Thoi Singh (Chennaiyin FC) and Farukh Choudhury (Kerala Blasters FC) are the rest of their Hero ISL players.

Mumbai’s Maharashtra rivals, DSK Shivajians too have a strong squad with Subrata Paul (NorthEast United FC) and Soram Poirei (Delhi Dynamos FC) as their custodians. Nirmal Chettri (NorthEast United FC), Jerry Lalrinzuala (Chennaiyin FC), Sanju Pradhan (FC Pune City), Milan Singh (Delhi Dynamos FC), Lallianzuala Chhangte (NorthEast United FC), Holicharan Narzary (NorthEast United FC) and Sumeet Passi (NorthEast United FC) are other players from the Hero ISL that are part of the Pune-based outfit. Goa’s only representative in the I-League this season, Churchill Brothers have FC Goa defenders Denzil Franco and Keenan Almeida in their side.

Shillong Lajong FC have FC Pune City’s Vishal Kaith in goal this year and Aiborlang Khongjee (Mumbai City FC), Robin Gurung (NorthEast United FC) and Chinglensana Singh (Delhi Dynamos FC) in defence, while Boithang Haokip (Mumbai City FC) and Rupert Nongrum (Delhi Dynamos FC) are set to occupy the midfield. I-League debutants Chennai City FC feature Chennaiyin FC’s Karanjit Singh, Abhishek Das, Zakeer Mundampara, FC Goa’s Debabrata Roy and FC Pune City’s Dharmaraj Ravanan in the squad. The Super Machans’ trio of Anrirudh Thapa, Baoringdao Bodo and Uttam Rai are part of the I-League’s other first timers, Minerva Punjab FC along with Mumbai City FC’s Rakesh Oram.

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