Shining bright: A look at the top five young players in the Durand Cup 2022
The Durand Cup 2022 saw all eleven Hero Indian Super League (ISL) teams participate in it for the first time ever along with four Armed Forces sides and four I-League sides.
While Bengaluru FC took the crown home, the prestigious and historic competition saw some top performances from young talents as many teams gave chances to their youngsters to shine in a bid to gauge their strength and tenacity.
These young players have been brimming with talent and this Durand Cup 2022 experience will be significant confidence booster for these players who will now look to replicate these performances in the Hero ISL.
Let us take a look at the top five young players in the Durand Cup
Sivasakthi Narayanan (Bengaluru FC) - 21-years-old
The forward was arguably Bengaluru FC’s best player in the tournament. Scoring five goals, with four of those coming from the bench, Sivasakthi showed his confidence and ability to perform in the first team. Having played for the Blues in the Next Gen Cup and AFC Cup, he took off in the Durand Cup and now seems set to compete for a spot in the first team.
With the likes of Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna along side him, Sivasakthi is bound to create wonders for his side in the upcoming Hero ISL season.
Narender Gahlot (Odisha FC) - 21-years-old
Gahlot, who recently penned down a new contract with Odisha FC, fortified the Odisha FC defence alongside defender Carlos Delgado. At the age of 21, Gahlot was a composed figure at the heart of the Odisha FC defence and showed the maturity of a seasoned defender.
The defender helped Odisha FC keep four shut-outs in all four of their group stage matches. With Gombau at the helm, Gahlot can expect to go to the next level as he is a coach that gets the best out of youngsters. Watch out for him in the Hero ISL.
Mohammed Aimen (Kerala Blasters FC) - 19-years-old
The attacker showed glimpses of his quality in the RF Development League, the Next Gen Cup and followed it up in the Durand Cup. Aimen netted three goals and provided one assist across five matches, spearheading the attack for one of the youngest sides in the competition.
Aimen earned a call-up to the first team of Kerala Blasters FC following his quality performances. He will be extremely beneficial under the supervision of head coach Ivan Vukomanovic who will let him thrive alongside quality players in Adrian Luna, Sahal Samad, and others.
Gyamar Nikum (Rajasthan United FC) - 17-years-old
The winger is a stunning prodigy produced by Rajasthan United FC. At 17 years of age, Nikum managed to get three goal contributions comprising two goals and one assist, out of which one goal came against heavyweights Mumbai City FC. The left-footed has the natural ability of being quick with the ball and can twist left and right to get past defenders.
Nikum possesses the potential to further develop his style of play especially when he is just 17 and has a lot many years to achieve his peak performance.
Piyush Thakuri (Jamshedpur FC) - 18-years-old
The midfielder’s versatility of playing in the offence as well as defence makes him a great asset for Jamshedpur FC. Although the Red Miners couldn’t reach the quarter-finals in the Durand Cup, Thakuri did his bit with a goal to his name and has the inherent ability to shape up as a great defensive midfielder given his performances in the Durand Cup.
With a new manager in Aidy Boothroyd, Thakuri might have a shot in the first team given the longer footballing calendar this year.