An exclusive preview of the HERO Indian Super League by EADF Guest writer Ajay Franklin Skimmer.

The HERO Indian Super League, India’s most popular football league is back for its fourth edition this 2017 and it is ready to provide some scintillating football action for the Indian fans. The introduction of two new franchises Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC are sure to provide even more entertainment. Since its first edition in 2013 the ISL has gained popularity over the past three seasons and increased the popularity of football as a sport in India.

The ISL also has provided a stage for young footballers who aim to impress on a bigger stage, gain recognition and hope to represent the Indian Football team in the near future. Last year’s Hero ISL Emerging Player of the year, Jerry Lalrinzuala is an excellent example of this successful system. The 18 year old impressed greatly throughout the 3rd edition of the ISL with his incredible defensive display under Marco Materrazi’s Chennayin FC.

Mumbai City FC shot-stopper Amrinder Singh was also nominated for the award and shows the importance of the ISL when it comes to cultivating domestic talent, which will greatly benefit the national team. Reigning champions Athletico de Kolkata will look to retain the spot as the top dogs in the ISL and have strengthened their squad with new arrivals like Eugeneson Lyngdoh who has been an impressive player over the past couple of seasons while he played for the colours of Pune City FC ,he has been touted as one of the top talents in Indian football, is ready to test himself in Kolkata while he continues to grow as a player.

Indian National team captain Sunil Chhetri has been retained by his club Bengaluru FC, who look to make their presence felt in the ISL, with new signing Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who has gained a lot of experience during his time at Staebk Football, becoming the first Indian player to play in the UEFA Europa League. Jeje Lalpekhlua who has been a consistent performer for Chennaiyin FC has also been retained by the club as they prepare to challenge once again for the Hero ISL trophy as they famously won the second edition during 2016.

Indian Super League
Dimitar Berbatov will make his bow in the Indian football circuit for the first time.


Transfers are always and exciting part of football, new players coming in, new coaches and with them new philosophies and ideologies about football. Let’s take a look at some of the transfer business done by the ISL teams.

1.Atletico de Kolkata

Coach: Teddy Sheringham

Technical director: Ashley Westwood

Players retained: Debjit Majumder (GK), Prabir Das (DF)

Players signed: Robbie Keane (FW), Zequinha (FW), Conor Thomas (MF), Carl Baker (MF), Jussi Jääskeläinen (GK), Nallappan Mohanraj (DF), Darren Caldeira (MF), Jordi Figueras Montel (DF), Tom Thorpe (DF), Njazi Kuqi (FW)

2.Bengaluru FC

Coach: Albert Roca

Players retained: Sunil Chhetri (FW), Udanta Singh (FW), Nishu Kumar (DF), Malsawmzuala (MF)

Players signed: Erik Partaalu (MF), Dimas Delgado (MF), Antonio Dovale (MF), Braulio Nóbrega Rodríguez (FW), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Miku (FW), Eduardo Garcia (MF)

3.Chennaiyin FC

Coach: John Gregory

Players signed: Inigo Calderon (DF), Rene Mihelic (MF), Jaime Gavilan (MF), Junior Joachim (FW), Ildar Amirov (FW), Jude Nworuh (FW), Gregory Nelson (MF), Mailson Alves (DF), Henrique Sereno (DF)

Players retained: Jeje Lalpekhlua (FW), Karanjit Singh (GK), Raphael Augusto (MF), Jerry Lalrinzuala (DF), Anirudh Thapa (MF)

4.Delhi Dynamos

Coach: Miguel A. Portugal

Players signed: Gabriel A. Cichero (DF), Paulinho Dias (MF), Matías Mirabaje (MF), Juan Leandro Vogliotti (FW), Juan Vogliotti (FW), Kalu Uche (FW), Edu Moya (DF), Guyon Fernandez (FW)

Players retained: None

5.FC Goa

Players retained: Laxmikant Katimani (GK), Mandar Rao Desai (MF)

Players signed: Bruno Pinheiro (MF), Manuel Arana (MF), Ferran Corominas (FW), Ahmed Jahouh (MF), Sergio Juste (DF), Manuel Lanzarote (MF), Eduardo Bedia Peláez (MF), Adrian Colunga (FW)

6.Kerala Blasters

Coach: Rene Meulensteen

Assistant coach: Thangboi Singto

Players retained: CK Vineeth (FW), Sandesh Jhinghan (DF), Prasant Karuthadathkuni (FW), Courage Pekuson (MF)

Players signed: Dimitar Berbatov (FW), Iain Hume (FW), Mark Sifneos (FW), Nemanja Lakic-Pesic (DF), Wes Brown (DF), Paul Rachubka (GK), Mark Sifneos (FW), Sahal Abdul Samad (MF), Jishnu Balakrishnan (MF), Sandip Nandy (GK), Sujith MS (GK)

7.Mumbai City FC

Coach: Alexandre Guimaraes (retained)

Players retained: Sehnaj Singh (MF), Amrinder Singh (GK), Rakesh Oram (MF), Lucian Goian (DF), Gerson Vieira (DF), Leo Costa (MF)

Players signed: Everton Santos (MF), Rafa Jordà (FW), Márcio Rosário (DF), Davinder Singh (DF), Thiago Santos (MF), Achille Emaná (MF)

8.North East United

Coach: João Carlos Pires de Deus

Players retained: Rowllin Borges (MF), Rehenesh TP (GK)

9.FC Pune City

Coach: Antonio Habas (retained)

Players retained: Vishal Kaith (GK), Ashique Kuruniyan (MF)

Players signed: Emiliano Alfaro (FW), Marcos Tebar (MF), Marcelinho (FW), Rafael Lopez Gomez (DF), Jonathan Lucca (MF), Damir Grgic (DF), Diego Carlos (FW), Robertino Pugliara (MF)

10. Jamshedpur FC

Coach: Steve Coppell

Assistant coach: Ahmed Ishfaq

Players signed: José ‘Tiri’ Arroyo (DF), Sameehg Doutie (MF), Emerson Gomes (MF), Kervens Belfort (MID), Trindade Goncalves (MF), Talla N’diaye (FW), Andre Bikey (DF)

The ones to watch out for:

  1. Robbie Keane (ATK): One of the marquee players in this year’s edition of the ISL, Athletico de Kolkata fans can get excited to see the former Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane, who is their top scorer with 68 goals in 146 apps. Robbie Keane will be expected to share his knowledge and wisdom of the game to the young players who can learn quite a great deal from his experience from playing for the likes of Inter Milan, Leeds, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham and LA Galaxy.
    Indian Super League

    Robbie Keane will come into the ISL with an ample amount of experience in the Top tier of World Football.

  2. Juan Leandro Vogliotti (Delhi Dynamos): The 32 year old Argentinian has arrived from the Bolivian Primera Division where he finished his last season as the top scorer with 22 goals in 38 games and will be expected to bang in the goals right from the start. He poses a great aerial threat with his presence in the box and physicality and will be hoping that he can help Delhi Dynamos go further this year than last year’s semi-final finish.
  3. Rene Mihelic (Chennaiyin FC): The 29 year old attacking midfielder from Slovenia has been a top transfer target for coach John Gregory who has taken over from Marco Materrazi. Mihelic is known for being the youngest player to represent the Slovenian national team at 19 years 1 month and 17 days. The Chennaiyin FC fans will be looking forward to seeing what the midfielder brings to the team.
  4. Sameegh Doutie (Jamshedpur FC): Newcomers Jamshedpur FC have snapped up 28 year old Sameegh Doutie from ATK, where he has been a focal point in ATK’s attack. The attacking midfielder has bagged 5 goals and 10 assists for ATK and is known for supplying balls, creating chances and scoring goals and will look to do the same for Jamshedpur FC.
  5. John Johnson (Bengaluru FC): Bengaluru FC who were founded in 2013 have won quite a few titles in a short span of time and have now joined the ISL in the hopes of adding the trophy to their collection. With two I-League titles and two Federation Cups, Bengaluru FC could be quite a tough team to beat given that they have retained their star defender. Johnson who is a fan favorite has experience playing in India and is an ever present character in the heart of the Bengaluru defence.
  6. Marcelinho (Pune City FC): After losing Eugeneson Lyngdoh to ATK, FC Pune City needed to strengthen their attacking options and have done so in the form of Marcelinho. Having bagged 10 goals in 14 outings last season, the Golden Boot winner was a top target for Pune City FC. Marcelinho is a man in form having guided Delhi Dynamos to the semis last season.
  7. Bruno Pinherio (FC Goa) : The 29 year old Portuguese midfielder returns to FC Goa after his previous stint which resulted in a semi-final defeat at the hands of eventual champions ATK on penalties during the 2014 campaign. He and the Gaurs will be hoping this campaign goes much better than their previous ones.
  8. Ian Hume (Kerala Blasters): The all time top scorer of the ISL Ian Hume with 23 goals in 46 matches over the course of 3 seasons, has returned to the South after winning the ISL with ATK last season. The 33 year old has been a fan favorite ever since the inception of the ISL and has been a consistent performer and entertainer so far. The Yellow wall of Kerala fans will be delighted to see him back in their colors as they look to push for the ISL this season.
  9. Lucian Goian (Mumbai City FC) : Lucian Goian who has returned for his second season at Mumbai City FC has been one of the best players last season. The 34 year old who was a part of the ‘Team of the Year’ last season has all the abilities that are required at the back. With physicality, tackles, experience, and power the Romanian has more to offer for Mumbai City FC and will indeed be a key signing for them for the upcoming season.


Dimitar Berbatov Image via Dailymail

All Club logos via Wikimedia

Jamshedpur FC logo via The Fan Garage

Robbie Keane Image via Twitter



The post THE RETURN OF THE INDIAN SUPER LEAGUE appeared first on El Arte Del Futbol.

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