Kalinga Super Cup: Top Indian Players to watch out for in the tournament
The Super Cup present a great opportunity for these Indian players to step up and make their mark in the tournament.
The fourth edition of the Super Cup is all set to begin on Tuesday, with East Bengal FC taking on Hyderabad FC in the opening match in Bhubaneswar.
Also Read: Sunil Chhetri masterclass, Odisha FC surprise and more: Best moments in Super Cup history
The Kalinga Super Cup will allow six foreigners in the playing XI, but much will depend on the Indian players as well, with the key Indian players from the clubs already being busy with the national team for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup. This presents a great opportunity for other Indian players to step up and make their mark in the tournament.
The #KalingaSuperCup is all set to kick-start tomorrow as we have 8⃣ scintillating clashes lined-up in the 1⃣st round 🤩👊🏼#IndianFootball | @eastbengal_fc @FCGoaOfficial @OdishaFC @bengalurufc @sreenidideccan @lajongfc @GokulamKeralaFC @InterKashi pic.twitter.com/9NmUpa9S6S— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) January 8, 2024
With that, let's take a quick look at the top Indian players from each Indian Super League (ISL) club to look out for in the Kalinga Super Cup.
Mohammed Aimen (Kerala Blasters FC)
Aimen has been brilliant so far this season and has become a vital member of Ivan Vukomanovic’s side. The winger has featured in all 12 ISL matches for the Blasters, creating 11 chances. He aims to continue this impressive form in the cup competition as the Blasters set their sights on clinching their first silverware.
Jay Gupta (FC Goa)
The FC Goa left-back has emerged as one of the breakout stars of the season. Gupta, who joined the Gaurs prior to the season, has seamlessly integrated into Manolo Marquez's system. Displaying brilliance in both defensive and offensive attributes, he has been in outstanding form this season. Gupta aims to carry forward his impressive performance into the Super Cup.
Isaka Ralte (Odisha FC)
Ralte - the man in form will be buzzing to continue his terrific run of form in the Super Cup from where he left in the ISL. Ralte has been a vital member of Sergio Lobera's side and has scored two goals and two assists already to his name this season. Moreover, he will have the backing of the home supporters, who will be keen to see his blazing runs and slick dribbles.
Bipin Singh (Mumbai City FC)
After a quiet start in the ISL, the winger has slowly started getting into the rhythm in the league and will now be aiming to build on that form in the Kalinga Super Cup. With his bursting runs down the flank and whipping crossing ability, he will surely be one of the threats for the opposition from the Mumbai City FC side.
Sumit Rathi (Mohun Bagan Super Giant)
Rathi was a key member of Antonio Habas' side previously, and with the Spanish head coach returning at the helm, Rathi can now hope to secure more minutes under his belt. Additionally, with Subhasish Bose out on national team duty, Rathi could be asked to fill his boots. This presents a brilliant opportunity for him to make a mark in the team.
Parthib Gogoi (NorthEast United FC)
Gogoi had a brilliant start to the season as he bagged a hat-trick against Shillong Lajong in their opening match of the season in the Durand Cup. He carried his form into the ISL and scored in each of their opening three matches. However, with an injury, his form has been slightly halted, and he will look to take this opportunity to help his side secure a place in the semifinal.
Ninthoinganba Meetei (Chennaiyin FC)
Popularly known as Ninthoi, the 22-year-old is recognized for his blazing runs and the ability to score powerful goals. The winger has received considerable praise from head coach Owen Coyle recently and will be aiming to justify that in the Super Cup. He has already scored two goals in the ISL.
Nandhakumar Sekar (East Bengal FC)
Nandhakumar Sekar had a terrific outing in the Super Cup last season, scoring four goals in five matches to help Odisha FC clinch their first silverware. The winger will be hoping for similar success with East Bengal FC this time. With Naorem Mahesh Singh out for national duty, much of the chance creation duty will be tasked to him.
Sivashakti Narayanan (Bengaluru FC)
Sivashakti had a stellar season in the previous season; however, he hasn’t been at his best so far this season. But now, with the new head coach at the helm and in the absence of Sunil Chhetri, who will be busy with the national team, Sivashakti will definitely look to make his presence felt and regain his form before the ISL resumes next month.
Pratik Chaudhari (Jamshedpur FC)
Chaudhari has been a regular for the Men of Steel this season and is likely to remain a key figure under their new head coach, Khalid Jamil. The center-back has recorded impressive defensive statistics, making 15 tackles, 30 clearances, and six blocks. His partnership with Elsinho at the centre of the backline has been commendable thus far.
Khaiminthang Lhungdim (Punjab FC)
Lhungdim will surely be another prospect to watch out for in the Super Cup. The 23-year-old has been one of the brightest sparks for Punjab FC this season, and they will be looking for more from him in the cup competition as they aim to pose a significant threat to Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC in the group stages.
Mohammad Yasir (Hyderabad FC)
Hyderabad FC are not having the best of the season, and their star midfielder Yasir, in particular, has faced challenges. Now, for Hyderabad FC to make a comeback this season, they surely want to kickstart it from the Super Cup. Much of the responsibility will lie on Yasir's shoulders. The 25-year-old will be keen to make the most of this opportunity to regain his form.