Probably one of the most awaited tournaments in the country, the Indian Super league is coming back for its third season which gets underway in October, later this year with a head-to-head face-off between North East United and Kerala Blasters in the opening match of the season at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. The tournament, which is no less than a festival in the country infested with mad football fanatics, features the best footballer in the country along with some really heavy names from International football which also is the reason for the enormous amount of footfall in stadiums during the ISL season throughout the subcontinent.
The first season of the tournament saw a Luis Garcia spearheaded Atletico de Kolkata grab the inaugural title while the second season was won by Chennaiyin FC courtesy stellar performances from a brilliant Steven Mendoza.
The ISL, in a statement, mentioned that all the marquee players “must be contracted under a legally binding player contract by August 20, 2016 in order to assist with the marketing of the relevant club, the league and the ISL.” Barring a couple of clubs, all clubs have named their marquee players within the said date.
Uruguay football legend Diego Forlan and Northern Ireland veteran Aaron Hughes are the new names in the list of marquee players for the upcoming season and will join the existing list of Marquee players for the ISL 2016 season.
Here is a list of the Marquee players who will feature in the upcoming 2016 season of the ISL 2016:
Atletico de Kolkata- Helder Postiga
Kerala Blasters- Aaron Hughes
Mumbai City F.C- Diego Forlan
FC Goa- Lucio da Silva
Chennaiyin FC- John Arne Riise
FC Pune City- Eidur Gudjohnsen
Delhi Dynamos- Florent Malouda
Northeast United FC- Didier Zokora
Atletico de Kolkata- Jose Molina
Kerala Blasters- Steve Coppell
Mumbai City F.C- Alexandre Henrique Borges Guimarães
FC Goa- Zico
Chennaiyin FC- Marco Materazzi
FC Pune City- Antonio Habas
Delhi Dynamos- Gianluca Zambrotta
Northeast United FC- Nelo Vingada
Atletico De Kolkata
ATK then confirmed the re-signing of six players from last season with Arnab Mondal and Jewel Raja being their only two domestic re-signings. Their other four re-signings include defensive mainstay José Luis Espinosa Arroyo (Tiri), midfield-general Ofentse Nato, creative winger Sameehg Doutie and their top-scorer last season Iain Hume. ATK have also signed up keeper Shilton Paul from Kerala Blasters FC and Bikramjit Singh from FC Goa, while also bagging Bidyananda Singh Ningthoujam who has been touted as Indian football’s next big thing. Their latest batch of foreign acquisitions features Spanish centre-back Pablo Gallardo, goalkeeper Daniel Dani Mallo Castro and midfielder Stephen Pearson. 33-year-old Pearson represented Kerala Blasters FC in the inaugural season and will be joining ATK from Motherwell.
The Atletico De Kolkata Squad
Debjit Majumder (India), Dani Mallo (Spain), Shilton Paul (India)
Arnab Mondal (India), Keegan Pereira (India), Pritam Kotal (India), Kingshuk Debnath (India), Prabir Das (India), Robert Lalthlamuana (India), Pablo Gallardo (Spain), Tiri (Spain)
Abinash Ruidas (India), Bikramjit Singh (India), Bikash Jairu (India), Jewel Raja (India), Lalrindika Ralte (India), Bidyananda Singh (India), Javi Lara (Spain), Sameehg Doutie (South Africa), Borja Fernandez (Spain), Stephen Pearson (Scotland)
Lain Hume (Canada), Juan Belencoso (Spain), Helder Postiga (Portugal)
Northeast United FC
The Highlanders were quick to add the signatures of up-and-coming talents like Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Shouvik Ghosh, Sumit Passi, Rowllin Borges and Uruguay’s Sasha Aneff. They further strengthened their squad with the arrival of experienced individuals like midfielder Manoel Morais Amorim from Brazil, Japanese playmaker Yusa Katsumi, goalkeeper Subrata Paul from Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL winner Mailson Alves from Chennaiyin FC, Nirmal Chhetri, formerly of the Kerala Blasters, and local talent Fanai Lalrempuia. They have also resigned the club’s top scorer from last season, Nicolas Velez.
The NorthEast United FC Squad
Subrata Paul (India), Wellington Gomes (Brazil)
Gustavo Lazzaretti (Brazil), Mailson Alves (Brazil), Nirmal Chettri (India), Reagan Singh (India), Salam Ranjan Singh (India), Shouvik Ghosh (India)
Didier Zokora (Abidjan), Fabio Neves (Brazil), Fanai Lalrempuia (India), Jerry Mawihmingthanga (india), Katsumi Yusa (Japan), Lallianzuala Chhangte (India), Manoel Morais Amorim (Brazil), Rowlin Borges (India), Seit Yasen Singh (India), Wellington Priori (Brazil)
Sasha Aneff (Uruguay), Nicolas Vélez (Argentina), Sumit Passi (India)
FC Pune City
Kerala Blasters FC’s right-back from last season Rahul Bheke became the Stallions’ first domestic signing ahead of Season 3, while La Masia graduate and former Barcelona midfielder Pitu Comadevall became their first foreign recruit recently. Another former member of Atlético de Kolkata, Arata Izumi also joined FC Pune City as he prepares to rekindle his relationship with head coach Habas from last season. Their latest signings include the NorthEast United FC duo of Yumnam Raju and Sanju Pradhan from Season 2. With former ATK coach Antonia Habas at the helm this time, FC Pune City fans will rightly get their hopes up for a potential season 3 title.
The FC Pune City Squad
Apoula Edima Edel Bete (Cameroonian)
Andre Bikey (Spain), Eduardo Ferreira (Brazil), Augustine Melwyn Fernandes (India), Rahul Shankar Bheke (India), Narayan Das (India), Yumnam Raju (India)
Arata Izumi (India), Francis Fernandes (India), Bruno Herrero Arias (Spain), Jonatan Lucca (Brazil), Pitu (India), Gustavo Oberman (Argentina), Sanju Pradhan (India)
Anibal Zurdo Rodriguez (India), Momar Ndoye (Senegal), Eidur Gudjohnsen (Iceland)
As of now, Dynamos confirmed the re-signing of Souvik Chakraborty and Sanjiban Ghosh as well as the signing of youngster Kean Lewis. Florent Malouda also returns as their marquee player for the 2016 ISL Campaign
The Delhi Dynamos Squad
Sanjiban Ghosh (India), Soram Anganba (India), Toni Doblas (Spain)
Chinglensana Kohn Sham Singh (India)
Amores Do (India), Denson Devadas (India), Bruno Pelissari (Brazil), Kean Lewis (India), Milan Singh (India), Florent Malouda (Nether land), Rupert Nongrum (India), Souvik Chakraborty (India)
Arjun Tudu (India), Marcelo Leite Pereira (Brazil)
Mumbai City FC:
Mumbai City FC have also signed Hungarian midfielder Krisztian Vadocz, who played for FC Pune City in the first season. Argentine playmaker Matias Defederico and Brazilian defender Gerson Vieira are also set to don the blue of Mumbai. Their latest batch of signings feature Anwar Ali from Delhi Dynamos FC, Pronay Halder from FC Goa and Sena Ralte from Chennaiyin FC. 23-year-old David Lalrinmuana is also set to represent Mumbai City FC in his first Hero ISL season.
The Mumbai City F.C Squad
Albino Gomes (India), Roberto Valpato Netto (Brazil)
Aiborlang Khongjee (India), Anwar Ali (India), Gerson Vieira (Brazil), Lalhmangaihsanga Ralte (India), Lucian Goian (Romania), Walter Ibanez (Uruguay)
Ashutosh Mehta (India), Boithang Haokip (India), David Lalrinmuana (India), Jackichand Singh (India), Krisztian Vadocz (Hungary), Leo Costa (Brazil), Pronay Halder (India)
Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Gaston Sangoy (Argentina), Matias Defederico (Argentina), Sony Norde (Haiti)
Kerala Blasters FC
The first course of action by the new Blasters coach was the re-signing of key individuals like Sandesh Jhingan, Sandip Nandy, Mohammed Rafi, Mehtab Hossain, Ishfaq Ahmed and Gurwinder Singh from last season. The men yellow also re-signed their top-scorer and assists provider from last season by securing the services of Englishman Antonio German and Spanish playmaker Josu Currias besides the signing of Thongkhosiem Haokip.
The team has an impressive line-up of 27 footballers including star marquee player Aaron Hughes, defender Cedric Hengbart, goalkeeper Graham Stack, Michael Chopra, Azrack Mahamat, Duckens Nazon, Kervens Belfort, Didier Boris Kadio and Elhadji Ousseynou Ndoye.
The Kerala Blaster are the only team so far to have released their squad list as of yet:
The Kerala Blasters Squad:
Graham Stack (United Kingdom), Sandip Nandy (India)
Aaron Hughes (England), Didier Boris Kadio (Ivory Coast), Gurwinder Singh (India), Azrack Mahamat (France), Cedric Hengbart (France), Ouzin Ndoye (Senegal), Pratik Chaudhari (India), Rino Anto (India), Sandesh Jhingan (India)
Ishfaq Ahmed (India), Josu Currias (Spain), Mohammed Rafique (India), Mehtab Hossain (India)
Antonio German (England), Kervens Belfort (Haiti), Mohammed Rafi (India), Michael Chopra (India), Thongkhosiem Haokip (India)
Undisputed star of the Indian Super League last season, Stiven Mendoza is being expected to join with the ISL side in their preseason training camp in Perugia, Italy, mid-September. The Striker who scored 13 goals from 16 games in the ISL last time will easily be Marco Materazzi and Abhishek Bachchan’s ( Chennaiyin FC co-owner) trump card for this season as well. Other Foreign players on the Chennaiyin FC squad include Bernard Mendy, Dudu Omagbemi, Raphael Augusto, Éder, Manuele Blasi, Hans Mulder, Davide Succi, Maurizio Peluso, Eli Sabiá, Duwayne Kerr.
The Chennaiyin FC Squad
Duwayne Kerr (Jamaica), Karanjit Singh (India), Pawan Kumar (India)
Jerry Lalrinzuala (India), Bernard Mendy (France), Eli Sabia (Brazil), John Arne Riise (Norway), Dhanachandra Singh (india), Nallappan Mohanraj (India), Eder Fernandes (Brazil), Mehrajuddin Wadoo (India), Abhishek Das (India)
Siam Hanghal (India), Thoi Singh (India), Dhanpal Ganesh (India), Raphael Augusto (Brazil), Harmanjot Khabra (India), Hans Manuele Blasi (Italy), Mulder (Netherlands)
Jayesh Rane (India), Baljit Sahni (India), Jeje Lalpekhlua (India), Uttam Rai (India), Davide Succi (Italy), Daniel Lalhlimpuia (India), Maurizio Peluso (Italy)
The FC Goa Squad
Laxmikanth Kattimani (India), Subhashish Roy Chowdhury (India), Sukhdev Patil (India)
Denzil Michael Franco (India), Fulganco Cardozo (India), Luciano Sobrosa (Brazil)
Joffre Mateu Gonzalez (Spain), Mandar Rao Dessai (India), Romeo Fernandes (India), Sahil Tavora (India)
Rafael Coelho Luiz (Brazil), Reinaldo Da Cruz Oliveira (Brazil), Robin Singh (India)
Come on India, Let’s Football.