Guardian angels of the goal: Goalkeepers to watch out for in the Hero ISL 2022-23 season
A goalkeeper’s contribution to the team is critical for the side to stay defensively sound and compact. While a clean sheet is the holy grail for any keeper, a well-balanced team rides on the selfless efforts made by the custodian, be it saves, reflexes, clearances or the distribution aspect of him.
The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has witnessed several heroics from the goalkeepers, ranging from high-flying saves by the nick of their palms to denying the player from the spot-kick. In an all-important role, some performances have even decided the outcome of the Hero ISL title.
With the 2022-23 season round the corner, let us have a look at the custodians who standout as the top contenders for the Golden Glove - the only goal they wouldn’t mind accepting.
Laxmikant Kattimani (Hyderabad FC)
The man that massively helped Hyderabad FC win the final of the Hero ISL 2021-22 season by making three crucial saves in the penalty shootouts aside from an exceptional performance in the 90 minutes of the game will be one of the most challenging keepers to get past.
A bankable figure in front of the goal, Kattimani made an astonishing 61 goals whilst conceding a mere 23 goals and kept three clean sheets in the 2021-22 season. Head coach Manolo Marquez will be counting on him to put up a tough fight as they look to mount their title defence.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
The only keeper in Hero ISL history to win the coveted Golden Glove twice in a row - 2018-19 season and 2019-20 season - Sandhu will be aiming to bounce back with an array of clean sheets after the arrival of new head coach Simon Grayson at the club.
Champions of the Durand Cup, Sandhu will be a key part of the Blues’ defensive reinforcements given his magnificent shot-stopping abilities along with a solidified and assertive backline brought in by Grayson. The Blues’ numero uno kept three clean sheets and made 33 saves across 15 games during the 2021-22 season.
Prabhsukhan Singh Gill (Kerala Blasters FC)
Golden Glove winner of the 2021-22 season, PS Gill came as a knight in shining armour for the Blasters as he came to replace first-choice keeper Albino Gomes who suffered an injury. Since then, Gill cemented his position as the first-choice keeper for his side and has been in shimmering form.
The 21-year-old punched way above his weight and asserted his dominance in the league with his exceptional shot-stopping abilities as the custodian maintained seven shut-outs, highest in the league, and made 47 saves whilst conceding 21 goals in 20 matches.
Phurba Lachenpa (Mumbai City FC)
Lachenpa showcased his remarkable skills in the Durand Cup that helped Mumbai City FC reach the final of the prestigious competition. Although he’s had less gametime in the Hero ISL, the 24-year-old poses as a huge advantage for the Islanders in a bid to reclaim the Hero ISL trophy and the League Winners’ Shield.
The custodian showed his heroics in the penalty shootouts in the Hero ISL 2020-21 semi-finals against FC Goa that helped his side to eventually lift the historic double.
Lalthuammawia Ralte (Odisha FC)
Ralte, who has been sporadically involved in the league so far, did an outstanding job for his side in the Durand Cup, playing a vital role in an Odisha side that maintained four clean sheets out of four matches in the group stage, conceding only two goals that came in the quarter-final match against Bengaluru FC.
With the seniority and expertise of Amrinder Singh in the team, this season stands as the right opportunity for the 29-year-old to improve himself and make his name as a promising keeper who can take the mantle in front of the goal for Odisha FC.