With past winners and young talents in the fray, intense race for Hero ISL Golden Glove on the cards

Forwards win you matches, defences win you titles. This quote of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson holds true across footballing landscapes and goalkeepers are a huge part of a team’s defence. They pride themselves on clean sheets and in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) it’s nothing different.

The Hero ISL Golden Glove award is given to the goalkeeper with the best minutes per goals conceded ratio.

With the 2021-22 season just around the corner, we look at the potential contenders for the award that every goalkeeper in the Hero ISL hopes to get their hands on.

Amrinder Singh

The Indian men’s national team player would have his eyes set on the Golden Glove this season, as he narrowly missed out to Arindam Bhattacharja in 2020-21. A reliable figure in goal for Mumbai City FC, Singh kept ten clean sheets in the 2020-21 season, making 61 saves while conceding a mere 21 goals.

He moved to ATK Mohun Bagan in the summer transfer window and will be a key member in Antonio Habas’ defensive unit, as they look to mount their title challenge.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu shall be aiming to add to his tally of two Golden Gloves that he won in 2018-19 and 2019-20. At 74.22%, he boasts one of the highest overall saves percentages in the Hero ISL, while also letting in an average of only 0.97 goals per game in his Hero ISL career.

Marco Pezzaouili will bank on the exquisite shot-stopping abilities of the Bengaluru FC custodian as they look to be title contenders this season. The India No 1 will be instrumental in guiding a new-look backline for the Blues in 2021-22.

Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem

The Under-17 World Cup player from Manipur had a fantastic end to his 2020-21 season, impressing in the Hero ISL with FC Goa and in the AFC Champions League against some top Asian teams.

He cemented a starting spot in an FC Goa lineup brimming with talent, after arriving from ATK Mohun Bagan in the January 2021 transfer window. With Juan Ferrando backing the young gun to deliver this season, he could be a major contender for the Golden Glove.

TP Rehenesh

TP Rehenesh produced some fantastic performances for Jamshedpur FC in the 2020-21 season, keeping 8 clean sheets in 19 appearances. The former Northeast United FC player established himself as one of the top Indian goalkeepers, back in the 2015 edition, being stellar in goal for the Highlanders.

He complimented a solid center-back pairing of Peter Hartley and Stephen Eze, making 54 saves and having a saves percentage of 73.97% in 2020-21. The acquisitions of Anas Edathodika and Eli Sabiá in the summer transfer window can swing the Golden Glove odds in Rehenesh’s favour.

Mohammad Nawaz

With his confident distribution being a factor that sets him apart from his competitors, Nawaz would be eager to bounce back from a 2020-21 season, that saw him feature a mere 10 times. In the 43 games that he guarded the Gaurs’ goal, he made 96 saves, with a saves percentage of 62.74%.

He has been involved with several Indian national youth teams in the past decade, most notably squaring off against a young Erling Haaland while playing for the Indian Under-17 team. A contender for the Golden Glove this season, he was central to FC Goa’s success over the last few seasons and he will be looking to emulate his performances from the past under the tutelage of Des Buckingham at Mumbai City FC.

Reflexes, handling, distribution, leadership shall all be tested throughout the Hero ISL 2021-22 season, with the teams set to battle it out over 20 match days starting on 19th November. The talent on show this season, both, in attack and in defence, is a clear indication that the race for the top goalkeeping honour is expected to be a thrilling one.

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