Hero ISL 2022-23, Hyderabad FC preview: With an unchanged core and fresh signings, HFC look to defend their crown

At the start of the last Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) season, very few would have tipped Hyderabad FC to reach the playoffs, let alone win a title. But Hyderabad FC turned out to be the surprise package last season, as they went all the way and won the Hero ISL trophy. They achieved the feat in just three years since their inception in 2019.

Hyderabad FC tormented defences as they scored the most goals in the league (43), while conceding just 23 all season, which was the second-best tally.

Having retained the core of the team along with some fresh additions to the squad, Manolo Marquez’s side are touted as one of the strongest contenders for the upcoming season, as they look to become the first team to successfully defend their title.

Season Outcome
2019-20 10th
2020-21 5th
2021-22 2nd (Hero ISL Champions)

Team composition and transfer dealings:

A club renowned for placing their faith in young talents, Hyderabad FC boast of some promising Indian youngsters and an experienced foreign contingent.

The Hyderabad FC management have done some smart business over the summer. retaining the core of their team.

The defending Hero ISL champions have re-signed centre-back Odei Onaindia alongside roping in such quality defenders like Reagan Singh and Alex Saji, the latter making the jump to the Hero ISL after winning two Hero I-League titles with Gokulam Kerala FC.

Transfers:

INs: Borja Herrera, Odei Onaindia, Manoj Mohammad, Reagan Singh, Soyal Joshy, Alex Saji.

OUTs: Aniket Jadhav, Souvik Chakrabarti, Khassa Camara, Juanan Gonzalez, Nikhil Prabhu, Asish Rai, Pritam Singh, Amritpal Singh.

To see the full squad of Hyderabad FC, click here.

Experts take:

Phil Brown on Hyderabad FC’s squad: I think HFC have shown a great interest in Indian football, and more importantly Indian players. They have dipped into the I-League to recruit some players, which suggests they believe in the system and this is both financially viable and sustains the long-term value (of Indian talents) in the future of the Hero ISL.

I believe with Bart Ogbeche as a focal point alongside Javier Siverio and Halicharan Narzary or Joel Chianese and Mohammad Yasir, they will have an amazing threat going forward. However, I believe that Manolo is no novice and doesn’t rely heavily on going forward over the balance of a solid defence which has been strengthened with the return of Odei Onaindia to partner again with Chinglensana Singh.

Phil Brown on Hyderabad FC’s transfers: The departure of Asish Rai may be significant, but not an impactful one given the business HFC have done. I believe they have ample cover at right side of defence with Reagan Singh's experience or Nikhil Poojary or Soyal Joshy.

Phil Brown’s Hyderabad FC players to watch out for: Akash Mishra.

Fixtures:

Hyderabad FC will begin their Hero ISL title defence against Mumbai City FC.

The reigning Hero ISL champions have a tricky run of fixtures in the opening month as they face NorthEast United FC, Bengaluru FC, and FC Goa. 

Their final league fixture promises to be an enticing one in what is a rematch of the Hero ISL 2021-22 final.

For full fixtures of Hyderabad FC, click here.

Phil Brown’s verdict on Hyderabad FC: I believe the canny moves in the transfer market have strengthened a team that has continuity of management which is one of the main reasons that I’m tipping HFC as champions this season.

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