Hero ISL clubs gear up for second edition; 41 Indian players retained; 23 signed from open market

As the second edition of Hero Indian Super League inches closer, the participating clubs are gearing up for yet another year of highly competitive football.

Over the last two months the Indian football market witnessed hectic negotiations among clubs officials and Indian players – for retention and signings from open market for players who played in the inaugural season of Hero ISL but were not in their club’s retention list. As the first step towards building their respective squad, all eight franchises have submitted, within the stipulated deadline on Friday, 15th May 2015, the list of retained Indian players as well as open market signings, thus forming the core of their respective teams.

Football Sports Development Limited – the promoting body with a joint venture between IMG, Reliance Industries and Star India – in its Governing Council meeting in March 2015 had announced a retention quota of minimum of one and maximum six Indian players. Thus encouraging franchises to reward their best domestic players with retention contracts and continuity with the club.

A total of 41 Indian players have been rewarded with retention contracts by their respective Hero Indian Super League franchises. Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa, FC Pune City and Kerala Blasters FC have exercised the maximum allowed retention clause by retaining six Indian players each from their previous squad, while Delhi Dynamos and NorthEast United FC have retained five each, Atletico de Kolkata have four players retained and Mumbai City FC have opted for three.

Each franchise is allowed to have a squad of 22, comprising of 13 Indian and 9 international players including one marquee. Additionally, a franchise can sign 3 more players from the open market which can include maximum of 2 international players.

Interestingly, FC Goa has already registered 11 out of the 13 Indian players’ quota in the squad with five signings from open market other than the six retained from the inaugural year of Hero ISL. As of date, Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters FC each have 9 Indian players on their roster, followed by Chennaiyin FC 8, Delhi Dynamos, FC Pune City and NorthEast United at 7 each, and Mumbai City FC having 6 domestic players.

Indian player signings will be completed in the month of July through an auction followed by draft of unsigned players. The list for auction as well as draft will also include the names of players who missed out on the first season of Hero ISL in 2014.

Hero ISL Clubs Indian player list for 2015

Atletico de Kolkata

Players Retained : Arnab Kumar Mondal; Baljit Sahni; Denzil Franco; Nallapan Mohanraj.

Signings from open market: Nadong Bhutia; Jewel Raja; Sushil Kumar Singh; Syed Rahim Nabi; Clifford Miranda.

Chennaiyin FC

Players Retained : Jayesh Rane; Abhishek Das; Harmanjot Singh Khabra; Jeje Lalpekhula; Dhanachandra Singh; Balwant Singh.

Signings from open market: Godwin Franco; Mehrajuddin Wadoo

Delhi Dynamos FC

Players Retained : Francis Fernandes; Anwar Ali; Syhlo Malsawmtluanga; Robert Lathlamuana; Souvik Chakraborty.

Signings from open market: Subhashish Roy Chowdhury; Seiminlen Doungel.

FC Goa

Players Retained : Romeo Fernandes; Mandar Rao Desai; Laxmikant Kattimani; Narayan Das; Debadrata Roy; Bikramjit Singh

Signings from open market: Pronay Halder; CS Sabeeth; Denson Devadas; Joaquim Abranches; Raju Gaikwad.

FC Pune City

Players Retained : Lenny Rodrigues; Arindham Bhattacharya; Ravanan Dharmaraj; Israil Gurung; Pritam Kotal; Manish Maithani.

Signings from open market: Gourmangi Singh.

Kerala Blasters FC

Players Retained : Sandesh Jhingan; Ishfaq Ahmed; Mehatab Hossain; Gurwinder Singh; Saumik Dey; Sandip Nandy.

Signings from open market: Mohammed Rafi; Nirmal Chettri; Ramandeep Singh.

Mumbai City FC

Players Retained : Subrata Paul; Subhash Singam Singh; Lalrindika Ralte.

Signings from open market: Gabriel Fernandes; Kingshuk Debnath; Rowlin Rodrigues.

NorthEast United FC

Players Retained : Rehnesh TP; Aiborlang Khongjee; Robin Gurung; Boithang Haokip; Alen Deory.

Signings from open market: Sanju Pradhan; Holicharan Narzary.

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