ISL draft: Onus on managers to pick the best players

As the new team in ISL, Jamshedpur FC will get the first pick in both 1st and 2nd rounds of the Player Draft, while Delhi Dynamos FC will be the second club to exercise their right in the opening round.

200 plus Indian players will be eyeing for 10 ISL clubs selection.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Delhi Dynamos (DD) FC and debutant  Jamshedpur FC, will make the first moves during Sunday’s Indian Super League Indians draft. The latter, owned by Tata Steel and managed by Steve Coppell, have no players on contract and expectedly will build a team from scratch from the time the 15-round draft gets underway. Eight more franchises are in the fray, including Bengaluru FC moving from I-League to the city-based league.

Miguel Angel Portugal, who took over the reigns at DD from Gianluca Zambrotta, has opted to start on a clean slate. The franchise did not exercise the option to existing franchises granted by organizers to retain two Indians from last season’s squad, nor two U-21 players. As the result of this surprise move, names like sensational Kean Lewis, Milan Singh, Souvik Chakraborthy, Anas Edathodika go into the draft pool to be picked up by rival franchises.

Click to View: ISL 2017 Indian Player Draft List

Under Italian manager Zambrotta, DD was the most exciting squad last season and lit up ISL with breathtaking displays of skill, control and touch at top speed. Lewis in the strike zone, Milan as attacking midfielder, Souvik and Anas in the defence stepped up their individual game to link up with world-class Florent Malouda from France and Marcelino from Brazil, despite the Indians’ being short on international experience.

Miguel’s ideas on team formation and player skills appear to be different from Zambrotta, under whom Malouda got the licence to run the show as he wished. The 61-year-old, who is an ex-Real Madrid midfielder and a former Technical Director with the same team, is managing in ISL for the first time, so it will be interesting to watch the Spaniard’s moves during the draft featuring 200 Indians.

Jamshedpur FC’s Coppell (ex-Kerala Blasters) in consultation with assistant Ishfaq Ahmedis, is more familiar with local players and suitability to conditions.

Other franchise teams with foreign coach/manager will be better prepared when the draft gets underway. Bengaluru FC retained Sunil Chhetri and coach Albert Roca can use the India skipper’s insight. FC Pune City’s Antonio Habas and Mumbai City FC's Alexandre Guimaraes continue from last season.

FC Goa, Chennaiyin FC, Kerala Blasters replaced the head coach, but deputies Derrick Pereira, Sabir Pasha, Thiangboi Singto have hands-on experience.

Even Ashley Westwood, ATK Technical Director, is a newcomer to ISL though a familiar face for players signed up for the draft, as many from I-League have played under him at BFC. Pereira (FC Goa), Singto (KB), Pradyuman Reddy (FCPC) are others from I-League with similar player connections, and could be used for the team’s benefit.

ISL Indians draft most expensive

India stars Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Anas Edathodika will be the most expensive picks in ISL 2017 Indian draft at Rs 1.10 crore each, as per media release from Hero Indian Super League. National team goalkeeper Subrata Paul is third costliest, Rs 87 lakhs for any ISL club needing his services.

Top 10 players in draft (based on salary): Rs 1.10 crore each Eugeneson Lyngdoh (midfielder), Anas Edthodika (defender). Rs 87 lakh Subrata Paul (goalkeeper). Rs 75 lakh Pritam Kotal (defender). Rs 65 lakhs each Balwant Singh (forward), Robin Singh (forward). Rs 64 lakhs Arindam Bhattacharya. Rs 60 lakhs Lenny Rodrigues (midfielder). Rs 58 lakh each Pronay Halder (midfielder) and Narayan Das (defender).

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