How the hero ISL Player Draft unfolded
The highly anticipated Hero ISL Player Draft took place at St. Regis in Mumbai on Sunday. Representatives from all 10 teams gathered in the draft room before the MC introduced founder and chairperson of Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), Mrs. Nita Ambani. After a short and impactful speech by Mrs. Ambani, there was a quick introduction of the retained players as well as a pennant exchange between the Mrs. Ambani and the players.
Andy Knee, Head of Football and Governance of FSDL, then took to the stage and offered everyone present an overview of the rules of the draft before Jamshedpur FC kicked-off the event with the acquisition of Indian international Anas Edathodika as their first pick of Round 1. Delhi Dynamos FC had the second pick of the round and chose to secure the services of goalkeeper Albino Gomes.
Round 2 of the draft saw Subrata Paul join Jamshedpur, Adil Khan go to FC Pune City and Pritam Kotal sign for Delhi Dynamos FC. The next round witnessed most teams barring Chennaiyin FC take part in the draft. Eugeneson Lyngdoh was the biggest name to be picked in this round. The former FC Pune City midfielder will be wearing Atletico de Kolkata colours in the upcoming season.
Other noteworthy player movements in this round saw Kean Lewis join FC Pune City and Mehtab Hossain reunited with head coach Steve Coppell in Jamshedpur. Round 4 which was the last round before the tea break also marked Chennaiyin’s entry into the draft. Their first pick of the draft was Thoi Singh, a member of their title-winning squad in 2015.
Numerous press conferences were held during the tea break with both players and representatives from teams in attendance. Jamshedpur FC also launched their logo in style during one of these press conferences. Round 5 of the draft began at noon with FC Goa getting things started with the capture of Chinglensana Singh.
The next five rounds saw several players change allegiances, while others were reunited with their old club. Dhanachandra Singh, Reagan Singh, and Aiborlang Khongjee re-joined Chennaiyin, NorthEast United FC and Mumbai City FC respectively.
However, Seityasen Singh, Romeo Fernandes, Jackichand Singh and Robin Singh, were amongst a few star names who will be playing for new teams this year. Seityasen and Jackichand will be donning Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC colours this year, whereas Delhi Dynamos FC and Atletico de Kolkata added Romeo and Robin to their respective attacks.
With 10 rounds of the draft completed, the teams headed for lunch. Once again, press conferences were held during this period with team representatives and players present. The last five rounds saw teams fine-tuning their squads, while also picking youngsters with the developmental player's quota – which requires each club to have at least two uncapped under-21 players within their ranks – in mind.
The final pick of the draft which belonged to Kerala Blasters FC saw them pick Ajith Sivan, who had entered the pool of 205 players, as a Reliance Foundation Youth Sports talent. Shortly after the conclusion of the draft, Chief Executive Officer of Reliance Sports, Sundar Raman, gave a closing address. This was followed by press conferences from FC Pune City and Andy Knee, who gave a wrap up of the Hero ISL Player Draft.
Click here to view the complete list of players drafted at the Hero ISL Player Draft 2017.