India’s top footballers set to feature in biggest Hero ISL season yet
The Indian national football team is currently enjoying their best FIFA ranking in 21 years after their climb to the 96th spot on the back of their wins against Myanmar and Kyrgyz Republic in their opening two fixtures of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers. The Blue Tigers are currently sitting pretty at the summit of Group A and look on course to qualify for the Asian Cup proper.
Head coach Stephen Constantine has transformed the fortunes of the side by reducing the average age of the squad and creating a competitive environment, which requires the players to bring their A-game to every training session. Constantine has often mentioned how valuable it is for his players to absorb information from their ISL coaches, given their experience and stature in the world of football.
Most of the Indian internationals are presently plying their trade in the Hero ISL and with the league set to expand in the upcoming season, it offers more players an opportunity to express themselves and showcase their talent.
In fact, of 35 players registered for the AFC Cup Qualifiers, 29 represent ISL clubs. Five of six registered goalkeepers are part of the league. Subrata Paul will don Jamshedpur FC colours and Albino Gomes will play for Delhi Dynamos FC later this year. The other three registered goalkeepers – Debjit Majumder (Atlético de Kolkata), Vishal Kaith (FC Pune City) and Amrinder Singh (Mumbai City FC) – were all retained by their respective teams in the recent Hero ISL Player Draft.
The Bengaluru FC duo of Nishu Kumar and Subhasish Bose feature amongst the defenders along with Kerala Blasters FC’s Sandesh Jhingan, Jamshedpur FC’s Anas Edathodika, Delhi Dynamos FC’s Pritam Kotal, FC Goa’s Narayan Das and Chennaiyin FC’s Jerry Lalrinzuala and Fulganco Cardozo.
India’s midfield engine-room includes the likes of Atlético de Kolkata’s Eugeneson Lyngdoh, NorthEast United FC’s Rowllin Borges, Chennaiyin FC’s Dhanapal Ganesh and Kerala Blasters’ Milan Singh. NorthEast’s Hali Charan Narzary, Kerala’s Jackichand Singh, Delhi’s Seityasen Singh, Mumbai’s Udanta Singh, Jamshedpur’s Bikash Jairu and Pune’s Isaac Vanmalsawma also feature in the wide positions for Constantine’s men.
Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC) and Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin FC), meanwhile, continue to spearhead the Indian attack. Target-man Robin Singh (Atlético de Kolkata), the versatile CK Vineeth (Kerala Blasters) and Daniel Lalhlimpuia, who is a part of Bengaluru FC’s AFC Cup squad, make up the rest of India’s striking options.
With these established players set to show their prowess once again and many more new talents looking to make a mark in what will be the biggest season yet, the fourth edition definitely promises greater, unprecedented rivalries, which means more excitement awaits fans the world over.