From Vafa to Ivan: Ranking the tallest players in the Hero ISL 2022-23 season
Football is a game that goes beyond just trickery with the ball at one’s feet. With multi-faceted elements to this beautiful game, height is one such factor that gives teams a massive advantage on the playing field over their opponent.
Be it a defender who can knock the opposition out with his deadly aerial presence or a striker who leapfrogs defenders for a menacing headed goal, the stature of a player is essential to impose physical presence - be it in the air or on the ground.
Over the years, the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has grown competitively and has shown the ruggedness involved when it comes to duels. The height of a player comes into the fore in any situation, be it in the defensive third or attacking third.
On that note, here’s a look at the tallest players in the Hero ISL 2022-23 season:
10. Ivan Kaliuzhnyi (Kerala Blasters FC) - 191 cms
At 6’ 2’’, the Ukrainian is ranked tenth amongst all the Hero ISL players. His long legs have undoubtedly been invaluable for the Blasters, having scored two belters from outside the box on two separate occasions – one against East Bengal FC and the other against FC Goa – that buried the game.
=8. Lara Sharma (Bengaluru FC) - 192 cms
Playing second fiddle to Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Bengaluru FC’s second-choice keeper stands at 192 cms. Having appeared five times for the Blues in the previous season, Sharma didn’t make a single appearance in the 2022-23 season.
=8. Mourtada Fall (Mumbai City FC) - 192 cms
The two-time Hero ISL Shield winner has been a huge asset for the Islanders, having been a mainstay over three seasons. A towering presence in the side, Fall has been an added boost especially in set-piece situations, defensive as well as attacking.
7. Petar Sliskovic (Chennaiyin FC) - 193 cms
Making his debut in the blue of Chennaiyin FC this season, the forward quickly became a fan favourite for his five headed goals - most by any player this season. Fondly called as the ‘Headmaster’ by the Marina Machans’ supporters, it didn’t take long for Sliskovic to become a fan favourite at Chennaiyin FC.
6. Alan Costa (Bengaluru FC) - 194 cms
The former Bengaluru FC player made headlines for his two last minute match-winning goals against NorthEast United FC, earning the Blues six crucial points that defined their runners-up season.
5. Harry Sawyer (Jamshedpur FC) - 195 cms
The Englishman who plied his trade under head coach Aidy Boothroyd at Jamshedpur FC is ranked fifth amongst all players. Having played 18 games in the 2022-23 Hero ISL campaign, Sawyer was pivotal for his side, netting two goals and providing four assists in the process.
4. Aleksandar Jovanovic (Bengaluru FC) - 196 cms
Jovanovic formed an explosive duo alongside Alan Costa in the backline. Standing tall at 6’ 4’’, the 33-year-old marked his Hero ISL debut with one assist, 55 clearances, 23 tackles, 18 interceptions, and 16 blocks. A commanding presence in the defensive third, the Australian appeared 17 times this season.
=2. Muheet Khan (Kerala Blasters FC) - 197 cms
The Kerala Blasters FC reserves goalkeeper is tied alongside Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in the second position. While he is yet to make a debut in the league, the custodian finds himself at the top end in the list of the tallest players.
=2. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC) - 197 cms
The Blues’ ever-present face in front of the goal has a daunting figure and doesn’t let any player score past him easily. One of the very few players to have played every minute of the Hero ISL 2022-23 campaign, Gurpreet’s sky-high figure has led him to make 71 saves, most by any goalkeeper this season.
1. Vafa Hakhamaneshi (Chennaiyin FC) - 198 cms
Standing at the top of the pyramid at approximately 6’5’’ is Chennaiyin FC defender Vafa Hakhamaneshi. The Iranian was extremely handy for the Marina Machans, leading the team from the back and playing a critical role in their build-up play. Vafa also donned himself as the acting goalkeeper in-place of suspended Debjit Majumder in the game against Bengaluru FC early on in the season.