Indian Super League has been a revolutionary stride in Indian Football. The inaugural 2014 season was an enormous success story. Legendary footballers like Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires, Luis Garcia, David James, Marco Materazzi etc participated and played alongside our Indian footballers. The main objective of Indian Super League is to raise the quality and standard of Indian football, so that they can compete in very highest levels unlike their current status.
To some extent it worked; the overall performance of the Indian players in 2015 season has improved significantly. Local lads like Anas, Arnab, Jeje, Sehnaj, Mandar, Sanju etc have performed reasonably well alongside their idols and legends like Lucio, Roberto Carlos, John Arne Riise and many more. Selection of the best Indian XI of Indian Super League 2015 has been a tough assignment due to the stiff competition in every single position. Still considering the stats,facts and performances this might be the best conclusion:
Rehenesh TP: Rehenesh has been the star performer for NorthEast United FC since last season. He has made the most number of saves (47) in this year’s edition and currently has highest number of clean sheets (4) under his belt.
Souvik Chakraborty: Souvik has performed as a destructive midfielder for years in domestic leagues. Surprisingly Delhi Dynamos player-manager Roberto Carlos had other ideas and started playing him as a right back instead of his usual position. He accepted the challenge and handled it quite efficiently. He has made 62 tackles, highest among the defenders and kept a couple of clean sheets as well.
Anas Edathodika: Anas, like his teammate Souvik, has been a surprise of this season. He is the most consistent Indian defender of ISL 2015 and has synchronized well with John Arne Riise so far.
Arnab Mondal: Arnab, alongside Josemi, played a pivotal part in Atletico De kolkata’s last season’s title win. This year, his performance was not convincing enough initially. But he has improved lately and showing his brilliance once again.
Raju Yumnam: Yes, you read it right. Not Gaikwad. Yumnam is the most underrated footballer of Indian Super League so far. The NorthEast United FC left back has been solid in back and lethal in attack from the very beginning. He deserves a call up in National Team.
Sehnaj Singh: His bold and fearless approach towards the game has earned him recognition already. His performance for Delhi Dynamos has caught the eyes of experts and being considered as one of the brightest prospect of Indian football.
Cavin Lobo: Though he has played a very few number of matches and his team Kerala Blasters has occupied the last position of the table, his performance was standout and highly appreciated by the fans and pundits. Lobo is hailed for his calm and composed attitude, good box to box movement, decent ball control and good scoring ability. He is an all round performer just what a top manager needs in his heart of midfield.
Izumi Arata: Atletico De kolkata spend a lot of money behind this Japanese born Indian footballer in this year’s auction which raised eyebrows of many analysts. He is 33, and was badly out of form in i League. But he silenced all his critics with performance scoring 5 goals and 1 assist in limited number of appearances. He is currently the 2nd highest Indian scorer along with Jeje. Most of his goals came as a substitute which helped ATK to earn crucial points.
Mandar Rao Desai: This youngster of Zico’s FC Goa was highly unnoticed last season despite being impressive throughout. He has reproduced last season’s excellence once more, even better this time. He has already scored 3 and assisted 2 and still he has enough time to enhance his numbers as they are already qualified for semis and Mandar played a big part in that.
Sunil Chhetri: Sunil is the worthy successor of legendary Indian footballer Baichung Bhutia. The Indian skipper is still performing efficiently for his country. However, this was his 1st season in Indian Super League and the campaign for Mumbai City FC has been disappointing having knocked out from the group stage once more. Though Sunil performed well and he is currently the 3rd highest scorer in the league with 7 goals under his belt and highest among the Indians. Best for a reason!!
Jeje Lalpekhlua: Jeje was rated very highly a few years back. Later he lost his way a bit and became irregular for his clubs and country. But this ISL season might help him to kickstart his career once again. He scored 5 and assisted 2 in 8 appearances only. Chennai has qualified for the semis from extremely difficult situation. Jeje played an integral part in it.
Special Mention: Sanju Pradhan, Amrinder Singh, Pritam Kotal, Rahul bheke, Thoi Singh : these lads had a great season as well. We hope to see a lot more from them in coming seasons and more importantly for Indianfootball.
On the other hand, reputed names like Subrata Paul, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Sandesh Jhingan have disappointed us this season. Specially Jhingan had a stunning last season for Kerala Blasters, this time he was way too ordinary. Subrata conceded way too many goals and Lyngdoh was not at all effective with his passing and set pieces. Hope they will do justice to their names next season and make India a better footballing nation.
Till then, let’s football…
Photo by sombraala