All you need to know about I-League debutants Inter Kashi
They are the first ever national level club from Uttar Pradesh
Club Name: Inter Kashi Football Club
Year Founded: 2023
Home Ground: Ekana Stadium, Lucknow
Owners: RDB Group of Companies
Head Coach: Carlos Santamarina
The Indian Football season is well and truly underway with the ISL kicking off its 10th edition last month. And now the focus shifts to the I-league that will return to action late this month with new teams, new players and new aspirations.
And one of the teams to watch out in the 2023-24 I-league season will undoubtedly be new entrants Inter Kashi. The side from Varanasi have received a direct entry to the I-League on the first time of asking making them the first ever national level club from Uttar Pradesh.
On that note, let us take a look at their team profile ahead of the upcoming season.
Inter Kashi was founded on 29th June 2023. The club has been formed as a result of a agreement between Kolkata-based RDB Group of Companies, European clubs Atletico Madrid and Inter Escaldes and Spain’s veteran defender Gerard Pique’s club FC Andorra.
Inter Kashi FC began their pre-season camp in Kolkata in August. The club put up a brilliant performance and played out a 2-2 draw against ISL giants East Bengal. The I-league debutants also clinched a satisfactory 6-2 win over Goan Pro League side Fransa Pax FC.
Inter Kashi have handed the hot seat to Spanish head coach Carlos Santamarina. The Vegadeo born head coach looks like the perfect fit for the I-league debutants, thanks to his knowledge about Indian Football.
The manager knows the in and around of Indian Football having worked for more than four years in the country. He began his journey as the youth coach of Spanish side UB Sanse before moving to Atleti Youth.
He then joined Jamshedpur FC and the iconic Tata Football Academy as the academy manager in 2019. Carlos was then made the manager of Jamshedpur FC’s reserve side in 2022 before moving to Inter Kashi a few months back. He also works as the Base Camp coordinator for Inter Kashi’s Spanish partners Atletico Madrid.
Other Members of Carlos Santamarina’s backroom staff:
Assistant Coach: Javier Broch
Indian Assistant Coach: Arata Izumi
Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharya, Nikhil Deka
Defenders: Lalruatthara, Anil Chawan, Deepak Devrani, Kojam Beyong, Tejas Krishna, Sandip Mandi, Klusner Pereira, Peter Hartley, Bijoy Varghese
Midfielders: Nikum Gyamar, Tomba Singh Haoba, Mohd. Asif Khan, Sehnaj Singh, Julen Perez, Phijam Vikash Singh, Sehnaj Singh, Fran Gomez, Keisam Angelo SinghForwards: Muhammad Ajsal, Jackichand Singh, Edmund Lalrindika, Ishan Vikram Singh, Mario Barco, Jordan Lamela, Sumeet Passi
- Experienced and reliable Indian and foreign players.
- Good squad depth.
- Manager’s prior experience in Indian Football.
- A lot of players have prior ISL and I-league experience.
- A lot of players have surpassed their prime.
- Carlos Santamarina has a lot of experience in academy coaching, but first team coaching is a completely different thing.
Players to watch
Peter Hartley is undoubtedly Inter Kashi’s most high profile signing ahead of their first I-league season. The former Jamshedpur FC captain has a world of experience under his belt having played a lot of football both in India and abroad.
His leadership skills, winning mentality and the ability to get the best out of his team will play a key role in Inter Kashi’s performances this year. He led Jamshedpur FC to their first ever trophy and will be eyeing something similar here as well/
Another player to watchout in Inter Kashi’s setup is young midfielder Gyamar Nikum. The 18 year old wonderkid has already shown what he is all about during his stint with Rajasthan FC. He is such a talented player that Mumbai City FC had to shell out a huge transfer fee to lock his services.
Currently on loan from the defending ISL league shield winners, Nikum will hope to put up good performances and get key playing time under his belt.
Jackichand Singh’s first appearance for Inter Kashi will mark his return to professional football after being out of action for more than a year. The winger was once considered to be one of the best players in his position that India has ever produced.
He has won the ISL league shield twice and also the ISL trophy during his time with FC Goa and Mumbai City FC. If Jacki can replicate the same run of performances like he did in the ISL a couple of years ago, Inter Kashi become an unstoppable force.
Inter Kashi is set to make their I-League debut against Gokulam Kerala FC in an away game on 28th October, 2023. The club will play five matches each in November & December. They will play in front of the home fans for the first time in I-league on November 21st, when they face Mohammedan Sporting during a 2.00 p.m. game.
What to expect
As mentioned earlier, Inter Kashi is the first ever national level club from Uttar Pradesh. They belong to a state where football is not so prevalent in comparison to the rest of India. But, they have put together a very good and competitive squad for their debut I-league season.
They look very good on paper. Only time can tell if they have what it takes to go the distance. Apart from that, a lot depend on them to create a footballing culture in the state and display a good picture of Uttar Pradesh on the footballing map of the country.