"It is a proud moment to represent our own state"
The Indian Super League returns for its sixth edition, taking place from October 19, 2019, to March 8, 2020.
Over the course of five months, fans will get to witness gripping footballing action. There will be a total of ninety league matches.
Following the league phase, the top four teams will compete in the semi-finals, hoping to qualify for the grand final.
The Indian Super League continues to evolve ever since starting in 2014. Expanding from eight to ten teams and getting AFC (Asian Football Confederation) recognition, the tournament is vastly broadening worldwide.
Football maestros such as strikers Ferran Corominas and Sunil Chhetri will be aiming to break more goalscoring records for their respective teams.
We preview the 10 Indian Super League teams who will battle it out for the 2019-2020 season.
Located in the city of Kolkata, ATK will be hoping to reach the play-offs. This is the sixth season for the club in the Indian Super League since the establishment of the tournament in 2014.
Narrowingly missing out by five points in the 2018-2019 campaign, two defeats out of their last three games cost them dearly.
Reinforcement signings such as forwards Roy Krishna and Jobby Justin, along with midfielder Michael Soosairaj, are the stand out players.
Scoring twenty-three international goals for Fiji, captain and striker Krishna will be relying on his leadership qualities to motivate his team.
Forward Jobby Justin carries a strong physique, whilst the pace of midfielder Soosairaj is eye-catching.
On May 3, 2019, Antonio López Habas was appointed as the new head coach. Undoubtedly, he will be pinning his hopes on a successful season.
For the 2019-2020 season, ATK can pose a serious threat to title favourites Bengaluru FC and FC Goa.
Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharya (IND), Dheeraj Singh (IND), Lara Sharma (IND)
Defenders: Agustin Iniguez (ESP), Anas Edathodika (IND), Anil Chawan (IND), Ankit Mukherjee (IND), John Johnson (GBR), Prabir Das (IND)
Midfielders: Carl McHugh (IRL), Javier Hernandez (ESP), Pronay Halder (IND), Sehnaj Singh (IND)
Forwards: Balwant Singh (IND), David Williams (AUS), Edu Garcia (ESP), Jayesh Rane (IND), Jobby Justin (IND), Komal Thatal (IND), Michael Soosairaj (IND), Roy Krishna (Cap. FIJ)
Head Coach: Antonio Lopez Habas (ESP)
The reigning champions, Bengaluru FC will be the team many Desi football fans will be watching out for.
They claimed a tricky 1-0 victory over Goa in the final on March 17, 2019.
They already have a goalscoring force in striker Sunil Chhetri upfront, giving them a strong advantage. Not only does there attack look very threatening, but defensively they are also very powerful.
Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be looking to help Bengaluru retain the title. His goalkeeping talent earned him the golden glove in the previous season.
Moreover, winger Ashique Kuruniyan arrives from Pune City. Known as an upcoming star in the country, his speed on the flanks could support Chhetri.
Being the favourites, the first game of Bengaluru sees them face off against NorthEast United FC.
Goalkeepers: Aditya Patra (IND), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (IND), Prabhsukhan Singh Gill (IND)
Defenders: Albert Serran (ESP), Gursimrat Singh Gill (IND), Harmanjot Khabra (IND), Juanan (ESP), Nishu Kumar (IND), Parag Satish Srivas (IND), Rahul Bheke (IND), Rino Anto (IND), Sairuat Kima (IND)
Midfielders: Ajay Chhetri (IND), Dimas Delgado (ESP), Erik Paartalu (AUS), Eugeneson Lyngdoh (IND), Kean Lewis (IND), Raphael Augusto (BRA), Suresh Wangjam (IND), Udanta Singh (IND)
Forwards: Edmund Lalrindika (IND), Manuel Onwu (ESP), Ashique Kuruniyan (IND), Sunil Chhetri (Cap. IND), Semboi Haokip (IND)
Head Coach: Carles Cuadrat (ESP)
Chennaiyin FC is joint top with ATK for most titles won in the Indian Super League. Having become champions in 2015 and 2017, they remain top contenders.
Interestingly, the club is co-owned by Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan. With his popularity and investment in football, the club has passionate fans.
Heading into the 2019 season, top Indian goalscorer for ISL 2014, Jeje Lalpekhlua will look to advance after enduring major injuries and having a poor 2018-2019 season.
The striker scored only one goal in sixteen matches, during season five.
The consistency of defender Eli Sabia is also key in maintaining a healthy goal difference. Playing eighteen games in 2018-2019, he arguably brings experience to Chennaiyin.
The team will also benefit by the signing of defender Lucian Goian, a fan-favourite in Mumbai. His leadership can motivate a team when they are down as well as being a top-class defender.
However, after a poor 2018-2019 season finishing last, they will want to improve drastically. Their first bout is a difficult trip away to FC Goa.
Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh (IND), Sanjiban Ghosh (IND), Vishal Kaith (IND)
Defenders: Deepak Tangri (IND), Eli Sabia (BRA), Hendry Antonay (IND), Jerry Lalrinzuala (IND), Laldinliana Renthlei (IND), Lucian Goian (Cap. ROU), Masih Saighani (AFG), Tondonba Singh (IND), Aimol Reamsochung (IND), Zohmingliana Ralte (IND)
Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa (IND), Dhanpal Ganesh (IND), Dragos Firtulescu (ROU), Edwin Vanspaul (IND), Germanpreet Singh (IND), Thoi Singh (IND), Lallianzuala Chhangte (IND), Rafael Crivellaro (BRA)
Forwards: Andre Schembri (MLT), Jeje Lalpekhlua (IND), Nerijus Valskis (LTU), Rahim Ali (IND)
Head Coach: John Gregory (GBR)
Manager Sergio Lobera will look to improve FC Goa further having not won the Indian Super League trophy. Based on his first two years in charge, he has constructed the squad around key players.
These include all-time top scorer striker Ferran Corominas and midfield maestro Ahmed Jahouh.
However, their attacking intent becomes stronger with the arrival of winger Seiminlen Doungel from Kerala Blasters. His offensive approach is likely to favour FC Goa’s style of play.
Midfielders Jackichand Singh and Manvir Singh can also prove to be beneficial options. The impressive speed of Jackichand and the experience of Manvir gives the attack stability.
In defence, Amey Ranawade returns after a successful loan spell at Mohun Bagan AC. Having won the Calcutta Cup with them, he will surely be fighting for a position in the team.
According to the SportsCafe, Ranawade expressed his targets on his return to FC Goa:
“The aim this year for me will be to win the title, after reaching the semi-final with FC Goa in the fourth season of the ISL.”
Interestingly, FC Goa has featured in the playoffs a record number of times. Therefore, Lobera will hope to overcome his trophyless drought.
Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz (IND), Naveen Kumar (IND), Shubham Dhas (IND)
Defenders: Aiban Dohling (IND), Amey Ranawade (IND), Carlos Pena (MEX), Chinglensana Singh (IND), Mohamed Ali (IND), Saviour Gama (IND), Mourtada Fall (SEN), Seriton Fernandes (IND)
Midfielders: Ahmed Jahouh (MAR), Brandon Fernandes (IND), Edu Bedia (Cap. ESP), Hugo Boumous (FRA), Kingslee Fernandes (IND), Lenny Rodrigues (IND), Mandar Rao Dessai (IND), Princeton Rebello (IND), Seiminlen Doungel (IND), Jackichand Singh (IND)
Forwards: Ferran Corominas (ESP), Lalawmpuia (IND), Liston Colaco (IND), Manvir Singh (IND)
Head Coach: Sergio Lobera (ESP)
Hyderabad FC came to existence on August 27, 2019, replacing Pune City. With the development of the club, they recruited manager, Phil Brown.
Having managed Hull City in the English Premier League, his experience will surely be a stepping stone for Hyderabad. Despite being a new club, he is making an instant impact after signing some big footballing names.
Striker Marcelo Pereira will surely be a goal threat. This was after he excelled in the 2016 ISL season with Delhi Dynamos.
Midfielder Marko Stankovic is also a well-established footballer signing from Pune City. Experiencing the European Champions League at Zenit in 2013, his acquaintance can pay dividends.
In addition, defender Rafael Lopez Gomez can be key in the heart of the defence, Spending much of his career in the Spanish football league, he joins the club from Rayo Majadahonda.
The Sportstar reports manager Phil Brown has been vocal about maintaining a strong squad:
“Definitely, in the process, we hope to see improvement from both sides — foreign players and the Indian players.”
“We need all the 25 players to be ready to take up the challenge at any given time in view of the demanding schedule of the league.”
The newly appointed team truly brings excitement to the fans of Hyderabad. Their debut match falls on October 25, 2019, against ATK.
Goalkeepers: Anuj Kumar (IND), Kamaljit Singh (IND), Laxmikant Kattimani (IND)
Defenders: Asish Rai (IND), Gurtej Singh (Cap. IND), Matthew Kilgallon (GBR), Mohammed Yasir (IND), Nikhil Poojary (IND), Rafael Lopez Gomez (ESP), Sahil Panwar (IND), Tarif Akhand (IND)
Midfielders: Adil Khan (IND), Deependra Negi (IND), Sahil Tavora (IND), Gani Ahmed Nigam (IND), Laldanmawia Ralte (IND), Marko Stankovic (AUT), Nestor Gordillo (ESP), Rohit Kumar (IND), Shankar Sampingraj (IND)
Forwards: Abhishek Halder (IND), Bobo (BRA), Giles Barnes (JAM), Marcelo Pereira (BRA), Robin Singh (IND)
Head Coach: Phil Brown (GBR)
Jamshedpur FC is another team competing in the sixth edition of the Indian Super League. Established in 2017, this side will look to fight for the play-offs.
Having finished fifth in their first two years of the ISL, they cannot be taken lightly. In addition, they have been extremely busy in the transfer window.
They have signed exciting young Indian midfielder Isaac Vanmalsawma. He joined Jamshedpur FC from Chennaiyin FC on July 5, 2019,
Signing on a free transfer, his exceptional pace and dribbling ability is worth noting for this season.
As reported by the official ISL website, Vanmalsawma was thankful for his chance at Jamshedpur FC as he mentions:
“I am extremely happy to join Jamshedpur FC and take my career forward, I am looking forward to being part of such a talented squad.”
Veteran striker CK Vineeth also arrives from Chennaiyin FC. Furthermore, young promising defender Jitendra Singh joins from Indian Arrows.
The potential performances of Vanmalswama and Vineeth can combine to become a lethal force for the team.
Not to forget, Antonio Iriondo will take over the reins from Cesar Ferrando (ESP) as head coach.
Jamshedpur FC will be kicking off their campaign against Odisha FC on October 22, 2019.
Goalkeepers: Amrit Gope (IND), Rafique Ali (IND), Niraj Kumar (IND), Subrata Paul (IND)
Defenders: Augustin Fernandes (IND), Jitendra Singh (IND), Tiri (ESP), Joyner Lourenco (IND), Karan Amin (IND), Keegan Pereira (IND), Narender Gahlot (IND), Robin Gurung (IND)
Midfielders: Aitor Monroy (ESP), Amarjit Singh (IND), Bikash Jairu (IND), Memo Moura (BRA), Piti (Cap. ESP), Isaac Vanmalsawma (IND), Mobashir Rahman (IND), Noe Acosta (ESP)
Forwards: Aniket Jadhav (IND), CK Vineeth (IND), Farukh Choudhary (IND), Sergio Castel (ESP), Sumeet Passi (IND)
Head Coach: Antonio Iriondo (ESP)
Undeniably, Kerala Blasters are a huge brand for the Indian Super League. However, their progress has fluctuated since 2014.
They also have the signatures of new players for the 2019-2020 season. The signing of striker Raphael Messi Bouli from Foolad in Iran will look to sharpen their attack.
Additionally, they have the services of defender Jairo Rodrigues, from Persela Lamongan in Indonesia.
Having played in the Europa League for CD Trofense (POR), his experience can be useful. They have also invested in the midfield area after signing Indian winger Seityasen Singh.
Coming off a long-term Achilles injury, he will be hoping to kick off his season strongly. As per the ISL website, Singh is excited for his new challenge after arriving from NorthEast United FC midfielder:
“Being a part of Kerala Blasters FC is a new challenge which I’m prepared for. My only aim would be the results and I will give my best to support the team to achieve the goals of the club.”
On May 19, 2019, Eelco Schattorie became the head coach of Kerala Blasters.
After guiding NorthEast United FC to the ISL semi-finals in 2018, he made the decision to embark on a new challenge. However, they will be keen to bounce back and fight for the top four.
Goalkeepers: Bilal Husain Khan (IND), Shibinraj Kunniyil (IND), TP Rehenesh (IND)
Defenders: Abdul Hakku (IND), Gianni Zuiverloon (NED), Jairo Rodrigues (BRA), Jessel Carneiro (IND), Lalruatthara (IND), Mohamad Rakip (IND), Sandesh Jhingan (Cap. IND), Pritam Singh (IND)
Midfielders: Darren Caldeira (IND), Halicharan Narzary (IND), Jeakson Singh Thaunaojam (IND), Mario Arques (ESP), Mouhamadou Gning (SEN), Prasanth Karuthadathkuni (IND), Rahul Kannoly Praveen (IND), Sahal Abdul Samad (IND), Samuel Lalmuanpuia (IND),
Seityasen Singh (IND), Sergio Cidoncha (ESP)
Forwards: Bartholomew Ogbeche (NGR), Mohammed Rafi (IND), Raphael Messi Bouli (CMR)
Head Coach: Eelco Schattorie (NED)
Mumbai City FC
Mumbai City FC is an Indian Super League club with a large fan base. The club has had a history of featuring famous footballers as their marquee players.
These included the likes of french striker Nicolas Anelka and Uruguayan forward Diego Forlan. A valiant effort during the 2018-2019 season gives Mumbai confidence heading into the new season.
A third-place finish came after losing their play-off match to a dominant FC Goa. Looking ahead to 2019, they maintain a capable squad.
Indian goalkeeper Amrinder Singh can contribute to their defence. This was after he made the most saves in 2018.
Mumbai City was also fortunate to sign young midfield star Bidyananda Singh on September 1, 2019.
Bidyanda arrives from the Bengaluru FC reserves and is hoping for more success.
Indian centre back Sarthak Golui will look to replicate his brilliant season in 2018. He featured in twelve matches and achieved two assists.
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh (IND), Kunal Sawant (IND), Ravi Kumar (IND)
Defenders: Anwar Ali (IND), Valpuia (IND), Mato Grgic (CRO), Pratik Chaudhari (IND), Sarthak Golui (IND), Sauvik Chakrabarti (IND), Subhasish Bose (IND)
Midfielders: Bidyananda Singh (IND), Bipin Singh (IND), Diego Carlos (BRA), Mohamed Larbi (TUN), Mohammed Rafique (IND), Modou Sougou (SEN), Paulo Machado (Cap. POR), Pranjal Bhumij (IND), Raynier Fernandes (IND), Rowllin Borges (IND), Serge Kevyn (GAB), Sourav Das (IND), Surchandra Singh (IND), Vignesh Dakshinamurthy (IND)
Forwards: Amine Chermiti (TUN)
Head Coach: Jorge Costa (POR)
NorthEast United FC
NorthEast United FC is certainly competing for the title. In the 2018-2019 season, they reached the semi-finals to face Bengaluru FC.
Despite narrowingly losing to them by a score of 4-2 over two legs, they have a chance to go one step further. With their transfer dealings, many players that had gone out on loan will be looking to make amends upon return.
Midfielder Milan Singh will look to enhance his abilities in his second spell at the club. He returns after a year at Mumbai City FC.
They have also signed Ghanian icon Asamoah Gyan from Kayserispor in Turkey. The striker joins the team with vast experience after playing for Sunderland in the Premier League.
Centre back Mislav Komorski is yet another player returning from a transfer deal. He rejoins NorthEast United FC from Croatian side NK Inter Zaprešic.
His ability can solidify the defence, along with playing a huge role in an attacking position. Komorski’s 87.5% passing accuracy rate from 2018-2019 guarantees him a place in the provisional squad.
Additionally, NorthEast United FC has appointed Croatian Robert Jarni as head coach. Speaking to Sportskeeda, he gives his verdict on the squad ahead of the 2019-20 campaign:
“We have good foreigners who know the league, so if we can get the combination of Indian and foreign players right then, I am confident of good things happening.”
Enjoying their best season during 2018-2019, manager Jarni looks to succeed further.
Goalkeepers: Pawan Kumar (IND), Soram Poirei (IND), Subhasish Roy (IND)
Defenders: Heerings Kai (NED), Reagan Singh (IND), Mislav Komorski (CRO), Nim Dorjee (IND), Pawan Kumar (IND), Provat Lakra (IND), Rakesh Pradhan (IND), Shouvik Ghosh (IND), Wayne Vaz (IND)
Midfielders: Alfred Lalruotsang (IND), Jose Leudo (COL), Khumanthem Ninthoinganba Meetei (IND), Lalengmawia (IND), Lalrempuia Fanai (IND), Lalthathanga Khawlhring (IND), Milan Singh (IND), Nikhil Kadam (IND), Panagiotis Triadis (GRE), Redeem Tlang (IND)
Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Cap. GHA), Martin Chaves (URU), Maximiliano Barreiro (ARG)
Head Coach: Robert Jarni (CRO)
Odisha FC enters this campaign having rebranded from Delhi Dynamos. Ahead of the season, they require a major upgrade in performance.
Interestingly, the club has finished in the eighth position twice, two years before the 2018-2019 tournament. Although, the players are confident of a good season, bringing excitement to the fans of Delhi.
Odisha FC has also been securing deals of significant players. The signing of Indian defender Gaurav Bora can bolster their backline.
Notably, Bora impressed during the 2018 season with Chennai City in the Indian National Football League (NFL).
Also by scoring two NFL goals, he can make a name for himself in the Indian Super League. Speaking to the media, striker Shubham Sarangi was thrilled about the new season as he commented:
“It is a proud moment to represent our own state and we hope to give our best.”
Moreover, they will be boosted by the signing of midfielder Xisco Hernandez. As his statistics suggest, he was an integral part of Bengaluru’s triumph in 2019
Although he scored one goal in fourteen games, he provided five great assists.
Goalkeepers: Francisco Dorronsoro (ESP), Albino Gomes (IND), Arshdeep Singh (IND), Ankit Bhuyan (IND)
Defenders: Carlos Delgado (ESP), Gaurav Bora (IND), Rana Gharami (IND), Amit Tudu (IND), Md. Sajid Dhot (IND), Narayan Das (IND), Pradeep Mohanraj (IND)
Midfielders: S Lalhrezuala (IND), Marcos Tébar (Cap. ESP), Diawandou Diagne (SEN), Bikramjit Singh (IND), Vinit Rai (IND), Martín Pérez Guedes (ARG), Adrià Carmona (SPA), Jerry Mawihmingthanga (IND), Xisco Hernández (ESP), Nandha Kumar Sekar (IND), Romeo Fernandes (IND)
Forwards: Aridane (ESP), Daniel Lalhlimpuia (IND), Seiminmang Manchong (IND), Shubham Sarangi (IND)
Head Coach: Josep Gombau (ESP)
Watch Indian Super League 2019-2020 Promo here:
Actors Disha Patani and Tiger Shroff will be LIVE at the opening ceremony.
The exciting tournament gets underway between two major footballing sides. Kerala Blasters FC plays host to two-time champions ATK in a traditional clash on October 20, 2019.
The Indian Super League teams will be hopeful of reaching new heights, as well as targeting big audiences in India and worldwide.