Meet the club captains who will lead their teams in Hero ISL 2019-20
With the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 campaign about to get underway, all ten teams vying for the league title this season are busy with the final preparations. A very symbolic yet integral part of these final touches for each team is identifying a captain - the men to lead and inspire their respective teams to achieve their ambitions and goals for the season.
Here's a look at which players will be donning the arm-bands for each team in Hero ISL 2019-20.
1. ATK – Pritam Kotal
The 2016 Hero ISL winner has been part of the league right from its inception and with more than 50 matches under his belt, is one of the most experienced campaigners in the ATK team as far as the Hero ISL is concerned. Being a local boy, the right-back will also be more attuned to the expectations of the fans and will look to don the coveted armband with pride.
2. Bengaluru FC – Sunil Chhetri
There were no prizes for guessing who the current Hero ISL champions were going to name as their skipper for the coming season. The talismanic striker embodies everything a coach expects from his captain, with his experience, determination, passion and resilience second to none. Defending the title, the Blues will come under a lot of pressure, and will thereby need the 35-year-old to lead from the front, once again.
3. Chennaiyin FC – Lucian Goian
Despite not having played a single competitive match for his new club, the former Mumbai City centre-back has been deemed worthy enough of leading the Marina Machans in the coming season. The 36-year-old Romanian is one of the most capped foreigners in the league’s history and comes with substantial leadership pedigree. He is also not new to the job, having captained his former club Mumbai City FC in the 2017-18 season.
4. FC Goa – Mandar Rao Dessai
Like last season, the Gaurs have named the midfielder as their captain for the 2019-20 term. Having been with the club since its inception in 2014 and being from Goa, Mandar understands the culture and expectations of the fans better than anyone, and therefore, is the ideal man to carry the club’s philosophy on the pitch. With 77 Hero ISL matches under his belt, the 27-year-old is well aware of the league’s demands which will prove vital as the season enters its latter stages.
5. Hyderabad FC – Kamaljit Singh
The 23-year-old shot-stopper will be leading Hyderabad FC - one of the two Hero ISL debutants in the 2019-20 season. Despite his age, Kamaljit is well equipped with the tools needed to be a leader on the pitch, as demonstrated by his valiant showings for FC Pune City last season. The goalkeeper played 14 matches last season, pulling off close to 60 saves at an accuracy of 74.68%. Kamaljit will be the youngest captain amongst all the teams this season but will have experienced campaigners like Marcelo Pereira and Marko Stankovic to guide him along the way.
6. Jamshedpur FC – Tiri
Since arriving at the club before the start of the Hero ISL 2017-18 season, ‘Tiri’ has been a rock-solid presence in Jamshedpur FC's defence, playing all 36 matches in the last two terms. The Spaniard’s experience and understanding have been vital to Jamshedpur’s cause. The Spaniard has won the trophy with ATK back in 2016 and will be hoping to lead his side to the silverware this time around.
7. Kerala Blasters FC – Bartholomew Ogbeche
As part of their big transformation ahead of the coming season, the Blasters have named the former Highlanders striker as their captain, who will be taking over the mantle from Sandesh Jhingan. His leadership qualities were evident last season as he led from the front and inspired the Highlanders to their first-ever top four finish in the club's history. Furthermore, Ogbeche’s understanding with head coach Eelco Schattorie - with him he worked with at NorthEast last season - will be a massive plus.
8. Mumbai City FC – Paulo Machado and Amrinder Singh
The Islanders have named two captains for the upcoming season. Both Machado and Amrinder are equally adept at leading by examples and both players are capable of lifting their team's morale with a piece of individual brilliance at any juncture of a match. With tons of experience and highly-regarded by youngsters who look up to them, it's hard to argue with the choice.
9. NorthEast United FC – Jose Leudo
The Colombian was part of the Highlanders squad last season and impressed with his gritty performances in midfield. With a host of key players from last season having departed, Leudo is one of the remaining old guards and new head coach Robert Jarni has found him the ideal candidate to lead the young side. With Asamoah Gyan - former captain of the Ghana national team - in the squad to help him out, Leudo will have no dearth of guidance to ease him into his new role.
10. Odisha FC – Marcos Tebar
The Spaniard has time and again proved himself to be a natural-born leader and has been tasked with spearheading Odisha FC’s debut campaign. Head coach Josep Gombau has worked with Tebar at Delhi Dynamos last season and time and again stressed his importance to implementing his philosophy and style of play on the pitch. With three Hero ISL seasons already under his belt, the 33-year-old is more than experienced enough to wield the responsibility.
Which of these captains will be holding up the trophy after the Hero ISL 2019-20 final?