Defenders who have competed in all six Hero ISL seasons
Not many players have featured in all six seasons of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL). The high-intensity action-packed nature of the league demands that players be injury-free as well as on top of their game and consistent over the years to play every season. After having a look at the goalkeepers who have appeared in all six seasons, here we check out the defenders to have played in every Hero ISL campaign so far.
Pritam Kotal has lifted the Hero ISL trophy twice with ATK FC and has been one of the most consistent defenders in the league over the years. The Indian international spent the first two Hero ISL seasons with FC Pune City before moving to ATK in 2016 and winning the title with them. He then joined Delhi Dynamos FC the following campaign and even captained the team from the national capital in the opening half of the 2018-19 season.
The fullback returned to ATK in January 2019 and has become an integral figure in the Kolkata-based club’s backline. He made 21 appearances for ATK last season and was solid at the back, helping the club to their third Hero ISL triumph. Comfortable moving forward from the flanks, Kotal has also scored three goals and registered six assists since the league’s inception.
Harmanjot Singh Khabra
A two-time Hero ISL champion, Harmanjot Singh Khabra first lifted the trophy with Chennaiyin FC in 2015 and then with Bengaluru FC in the 2018-19 season. A versatile player who is capable of slotting into the defence and the midfield, Khabra has represented the Marina Machans and the Blues in the Hero ISL, making 86 appearances over six seasons and registering eight assists.
An all-action player who loves to be in the thick of things, Khabra is never one to shy away from a challenge and has made 198 tackles, 173 clearances, 130 interceptions and 82 blocks during his six seasons in the Hero ISL.
Mandar Rao Dessai
Like Khabra, Mandar Rao Dessai is a versatile individual who is capable of putting in a solid shift in defence as well as midfield. Even though he was used higher up the pitch in the first few seasons, Dessai was mostly utilized as a left-back last campaign. A part of FC Goa during the first six Hero ISL seasons, Dessai finished as runners-up twice with the Gaurs and also lifted the Super Cup with them in 2019.
Dessai has scored six times and provided 11 assists for the Gaurs. On the defensive front, he made 144 tackles, 104 clearances, 62 interceptions and 55 blocks for Goa.
One of the most experienced defenders in the Hero ISL with 90 appearances to his name, Narayan Das spent the first two seasons with FC Goa and featured regularly in their backline. The left-back moved to FC Pune City in 2016 but returned to Goa for the following campaign and helped the Gaurs reach the semi-finals. Hero ISL 2018-19 saw him join Delhi Dynamos FC and he was with Odisha FC last season.
The Indian left-back has provided six assists, made 360 clearances, 193 tackles, 158 interceptions and 141 blocks in six Hero ISL seasons.
An experienced campaigner, Raju Gaikwad represented Mumbai City FC in the inaugural Hero ISL season. He then moved to FC Goa for the next two campaigns and was part of the Gaurs when they finished as runners-up to Chennaiyin FC in 2015. After his time with Goa, Gaikwad returned to Mumbai City for the 2017-18 season and played regularly for the Islanders.
He was then roped in by Jamshedpur FC ahead of Hero ISL 2018-19 and was brought by Kerala Blasters as defensive cover for an injured Sandesh Jhingan last campaign. In six Hero ISL seasons, Gaikwad has made 58 appearances and completed 272 clearances, 98 interceptions, 87 tackles and 60 blocks.
The Indian fullback spent the first three Hero ISL seasons with Delhi Dynamos FC and helped the Lions reach the semi-finals in 2015 and 2016. A hard-tackling fullback who loves to get forward and support the attackers, Souvik Chakrabarti moved to Jamshedpur FC after his time with Delhi. After one season with Jamshedpur, Chakrabarti joined Mumbai City FC in the 2018-19 season and helped the Islanders also reach the semi-finals.
He last represented Hyderabad FC in the 2019-20 campaign after joining them in January. During his six seasons in the league, Chakrabarti has completed 315 clearances, 308 tackles, 142 interceptions and 88 blocks.