ISL: Foreign managers looking to get best Indian talent on board

Six Indians will take the pitch as the minimum stipulation - plus five foreigners - for the first time in ISL. This rule change is the trigger for the team managements, the existing eight and the two new ones (Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC), readiness to build squads around Indian talent.

Eugeneson Lyngdoh will be the marquee player in the upcoming Indian Super League player draft.   -  THE HINDU


To see managers of the Indian Super League (ISL) teams focussing on Indian players is a little unusual in a tournament driven by glamour of foreign stars. The upcoming edition of ISL will see the first steps taken towards a future possibility of local stars rated on par with foreign talent.

As for now, coaches from Spain, England are busy getting down to the serious business of chasing domestic players with skill sets to suit team requirements.

Six Indians on the pitch as the minimum stipulation is the trigger for the team managements to build squads around Indian talent. Seven franchises have already retained two match-winners for its continuity and brand-building. FC Pune City has retained one player — Vishal Kaith — while Delhi Dynamos and Jamshedpur FC have kept a clean slate.

Indian defenders and goalkeepers will be in demand, to complement the hand-picked foreign professionals in attacking positions.

In-form Indian players realised the changed circumstances and passed up tempting contracts from I-League clubs to sign up for the ISL draft.

The lure of a longer ISL and a desire to compete alongside highly-value foreigners led to three key Aizawl FC players (Albino Gomes, Jayesh Rane, Ashutosh Mehta) resisting offers from East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers.

Among the 200 Indian names available,  India defender Anas Edathodika and creative midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh are expected to be the top picks. Form for India in Asian competitions, coupled with track record representing Bagan and Bengaluru FC respectively, enable either of them to walk into any ISL squad.  These franchises would do well to match the price tag, touted to be in the range of Rs. 1 crore and above.

Every ISL franchise is expected to sign up at least 13 senior players and two domestic talent from the U-21 age group.

List of Indians retained (U-21 names in brackets) prior to the draft:

Atletico de Kolkata--- Debjit Majumder, Prabir Das (none). Mumbai City FC: Amrinder Singh, Sehnaj Singh (Rakesh Oram). FC Goa: Laxmikant Kattimani, Mandar Desai (none). Chennaiyin FC: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Karanjit Singh (Jerry Lalrinzuala, Anirudh Thapa). Kerala Blasters FC: C K Vineeth, Sandesh Jhingan (K Prasanth). North East United FC: T P Rehenesh, Rowlin Borges (none). FC Pune City: Vishal Kaith (Ashique Kuruniyan). Bengaluru FC: Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh (Malsawmzuala, Nishu Kumar). Delhi Dynamos FC did not retain any player and Jamshedpur FC is the new entrant with no players on roster so far.

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