Third season of Indian Super League is about to kick-off within a few hours and all the eight sides are set to compete for next three months in order to lift the title.
Delhi Dynamos, who made it to the semis last year, have redeveloped their squad and brought in Gianluca Zambrotta as their new manager replacing Roberto Carlos.
Delhi Dynamos Team Update:
Delhi have mostly concentrated on building a much younger team compared to previous years and roped in 2006 FIFA World Cup winning Italian full-back Gianluca Zambrotta as their new head coach. They have retained former French international Florent Malouda, Spanish custodian Toni Doblas and Ghanaian forward Richard Gadze. Lions have roped in Brazilian midfielder Bruno Pelissari from defending champions Chennaiyin FC, Ghanaian international defender David Addy, Spanish midfielder Marcos Tebar, defender Ruben, Brazilian midfielder Memo, forward Marcelinho, Senegalese midfielder Baye Ibrahima Niasse and striker Badara Badji, who has been capped twice for his country. Also, they have loaned in West Bromwich Albion midfielder Samir Nabi who was seeking for a move elsewhere in order to gain senior experience.
Among Indians, they have kept hold of defender Anas Edathodika who was rock-solid at Delhi backline alongside John Arne Riise. Goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh and midfielder Souvik Chakraborty, too, has been retained who was outstanding as a makeshift right-back last year. Midfield duo Denson Devdas and Milan Singh have joined in from FC Goa and NorthEast United FC respectively. Rest are a number of talented young Indians who have been impressive in domestic circuit. Goalkeeper Soram Anganba and defensive duo Lalchhawnkima and Lalruatthara have been included from Aizwal FC, midfielder Rupert Nongrum and defender Chinglensana Singh have been loaned in from Shillong Lajong. Young midfielder Amoes from Mumbai FC, midfielder Kean Lewis from Mohun Bagan and Arjun Tudu from Army XI have also been selected to increase their squad strength.
Delhi Dynamos Strength:
Delhi have switched to a much younger squad with talented and energetic Indians. They had an impressive pre-season and performed brilliantly against Tony Pulis’ West Brom at the Hawthorns in spite of 1-0 defeat. However, they have a strong midfield with the inclusions of Bruno Pelissari, Samir Nabi and former Real Madrid man Marcos Tebar who are capable of creating fair amount of chances for their forwards.
Delhi Dynamos Weakness:
Delhi had a complete overhaul in their squad that will take time to settle down under a new inexperienced manager. Zambrotta, who named Antonio Conte and Diego Simeone as philosophical guides, had an unconvincing experience with his former side Chiasso and somehow managed a relegation escape in the Swiss second division. It will be an uphill task for him to compete against sides managed by veteran professionals Atonio Habas, Zico, Steve Coppell. A number of big names have left the club who were impressive in past – Hans Mulder, Gustavo Dos Santos, John Arne Riise are to name a few. The forward line is vastly dependent on Richard Gadze with no proper backup options. Overall, Delhi are the underdogs and will have a tough ride in order to manage past the group stage.
Where They Can Finish:
Delhi finished fifth in the inaugural campaign and were an improved side last year that managed to reach the semis. But the Dynamos will find it hard this time as they had a squad overhaul which will take more to settle in and the underdogs in top four race will have to produce something extraordinary to conquer the title.
Photo by Andrea Sartorati