These youngsters caught the eye with their strong performances in the campaign.
The I-League is rich with talented Indian football players. Despite its status behind the Indian Super League, I-League boasts of brilliant domestic and foreign footballers. Young players in particular get a lot of playing time in the division. The participating clubs put a lot of faith in the youngsters who take the opportunity with open arms.
The 2021-22 campaign of the I-League is heading to its conclusion. There were several young players in the U-23 category that caught the attention of the fans during the season. Playing for their respective clubs, the youngsters gave their one hundred percent on the pitch. Hopefully, their talents get proper recognition that opens better opportunities moving forward.
Looking back at the league campaign, there are players that stood out from the rest. Therefore, here is a look at the top five U-23 stars who impressed in I-League 2021-22:
5. Khaimin Lhungdim
NEROCA FC had a mediocre I-League 2021-22 campaign. The side made it to the championship stage but could not mount a title challenge. However, there were a few positives to take away from the season. In particular, the performance of Khaimin Lhungdim.
The 22-year-old plays as a winger and was impressive in the past season. He scored a goal and provided one assist in 17 matches. While the numbers may be low, his effort was exemplary considering his age. With 93 successful dribbles, Lhungdim is the outright leader in the division.
4. Bryce Miranda
Bryce Miranda is a sensational young player who has all the qualities to play in the Indian Super League as well. He currently plays for Churchill Brothers in the I-League. The 22-year-old midfielder is already showing signs of maturity. He showed incredible industry during the season.
The former FC Goa reserves player made one assist and scored once during the 16 matches for the Goan outfit. Above all, he is the outright leader in the league with 55 crosses. Miranda is very versatile and can also prove to be an asset as a box to box midfielder.
3. Lal Chungnunga
Lal Chungnunga was one of the most consistent performers of the season. Playing for new entrants Sreenidi Deccan FC, the defender earned a lot of praise. The 22-year-old plays as a left-back but has the versatility to play as a centre-back too.
Furthermore, the defender has provided four assists in the 2021-22 campaign from 17 fixtures. He is only behind Nikola Stojanovic who has seven assists to his name. Several clubs from the ISL will be on the lookout for Lal Chungnunga’s signature due to his impeccable performance for SDFC.
2. Vibin Mohanan
The Indian Arrows is the home for some of the most promising youngsters that Indian football offers. The club plays in the I-League and provides a good platform and exposure to youngsters like Vibin Mohanan. He plays as a midfielder for the AIFF developmental side and has all the qualities to succeed at the top level.
Vibin Mohanan is only 19-years-old and consistently plays an exquisite brand of football. The midfielder has made 762 passes from 17 appearances, which is the third-highest in the division. In addition, Mohanan also has a goal and two assists for the club.
1. Emil Benny
Emil Benny is one of the most sought after youngsters in Indian football. The 21-year-old Keralite plays for Gokulam Kerala FC, one of the strongest clubs in the country. He is an attacking midfielder who can also play on the wings.
The 2020-21 I-League winner with GKFC deserves to play in the ISL, which is the top division in India. In terms of his performance in the 2021-22 season, Benny was outstanding every time he took the pitch. He made three assists from 17 matches and led the division with 21 key passes.