Six Gokulam FC players make the cut in this playing XI.
The I-League returned to on-field action after a halt due to COVID-19 and has given Indian Football fans a reason to celebrate the game. Gokulam Kerala have penned down their title defense like a fairy tale story with some dominant displays in the league so far.
Just like every season, the league showcased some brilliant individual performances, especially from the Indian Players. And here are our picks for the team of the tournament for Phase 1.
Goalkeeper: Rakshit Dagar (Gokulam Kerala)
Rakshit has had a season to remember between the sticks for the defending champions. He has put up a good fight against the finest forwards of the league. The 29-year-old is a fearless character who isn’t afraid to play the role of a sweeper keeper.
Rakshit has been consistent with his saves but has also saved GKFC numerous times by coming off his line at the right time. In 10 I-League matches so far, Rakshit has kept three clean sheets and has also provided an assist.
Center-back: Lalchungnunga (Sreenidhi Deccan)
The young defender from Mizoram has been a constant performer for Sreenidhi Deccan FC on either end of the pitch. He has been rock solid in the heart of the backline and has successfully managed to keep things tight at the back. He is also one of the leading players in I-League 2021-22 in terms of delivering crosses.
Lalchungnunga has the ability to play as a center-back, left-back, and as right-back. His versatility gives Sreenidhi an added advantage on their side. Moreover, the 21-year-old has provided four assists and also has a goal to his name.
Center-back: Bouba Aminou (Gokulam Kerala)
He is a former Cameroon U-20 international and has the experience of playing football in many countries. His experience has been very beneficial for the defending champions at the back.
The Cameroonian defender has lived up to his big name and reputation in the league so far. He has been arguably the best player for the I-league debutants. He has played all the games for Gokulam Kerala and has recorded the most number of interceptions in the league (113). Bouba has also pulled off 116 ball recoveries in the league so far. Moreover, he has also scored two goals in the process.
Center-back: Muhammad Uvais (Gokulam Kerala)
Uvais too has been in great form and has formed a formidable partnership with Bouba Aminou at the back. The 23-year-old belongs to a rare species of left-footed center backs and has the ability to shine big in his career.
The young lad has turned out to be a perfect addition to an already dangerous-looking Gokulam Kerala side. He can play as a left-back and as an inverted right-back if required and also possesses good attacking abilities. Uvais has scored once and assisted twice in the league so far.
Right-Midfielder: Emil Benny (Gokulam Kerala)
The young lad has brought in the same energy and performances from last season. Emil has been a livewire on the flanks for the defending champions. His pace and trickery have caused a world of problems for other I-league sides.
The 21-year-old has been in perfect tune in I-league 2021-22 and has already got the better of his numbers from last season. Benny has scored three goals and assisted two in12 matches this season. He has also executed the most number of key passes (21).
Central-Midfielder: Samuel Lalmuanpuia (Aizawl FC)
Samuel’s move to the I-League from Odisha FC has turned out to be a blessing for him. He is in the process of proving his mettle in India Football and Aizawl FC has given him every needed push to do that.
He can also operate as an attacking midfielder, a right-winger, and a center-forward if needed. The 23-year-old has scored once and assisted three in nine games in I-league 2021-22. He has the required pace, technique and precision to be one of the top talents in the country if nurtured properly.
Central-Midfielder: Nikola Stojanovic (Mohammedan SC)
The Serbian has bossed the midfield for the Black Panthers this season. He has been an ever-present figure for Mohammedan SC and has been a great leader for them. The skipper adds both creativity and rigidity to his side’s midfield.
He has scored a goal and provided seven assists, the highest in the league so far. Nikola is also leading the charts 337 challenges in the league. He has executed 74 dribbles, and 20 key passes in 1197 minutes of gametime.
Left-Midfielder: Bryce Miranda (Churchill Brothers)
The India U-23 international has dropped in good performances consistently for Churchill Brothers in the I-league this season. He has slotted perfectly into different positions in the middle of the park. He has executed 55 successful crosses, the highest in the league.
Bryce has displayed his calm and cool-headed gameplay in the league so far and has Antonio Rueda’s trusted lieutenant. He was a mainstay for Churchill Brothers last season and has continued to do so. So far this season, Bryce has provided an assist for his side in terms of goal contributions.
Right Forward: Parthib Gogoi (Indian Arrows)
The young Assamese lad has been exceptional for the Arrows this season. He has led from the front and helped Indian Arrows record two victories this season. Parthib has caused trouble to multiple defenders with his pace and trickery.
He plays the role of a creative nucleus on the right flank by delivering pin-point crosses into the box. The 19-year-old has created multiple chances which have ended up hitting the woodwork. He has scored a goal and provided a brilliant assist so far in the league. Don’t go by numbers, he’s certainly worth more.
Center-Forward: Luka Majcen (Gokulam Kerala)
Everything Luka Majcen touches turns into a goal. The Slovenian target man is leading the charts for the most number of goals for the second season running. His hunger and love to score goals are unparalleled. He has already proved the fact that he is a perfect no. 9 for any team.
Luka has been a consistent performer in the league and has racked up 13 goals so far. His performances upfront is a major reason behind Gokulam Kerala’s utter dominance this season. He has even scored two hattricks this season and could be on the lookout for more.
Left Winger: Marcus Joseph (Mohammedan SC)
Joseph is a man with a Midas touch. The striker has found the back of the net time and again for the Black Panthers. He has brought in his fine form from the 2021 Durand Cup and has continued to score goals. He is undoubtedly one of the most natural goal scorers in the league.
His inherent poaching skills and ability to take on defenders give him an added advantage. He has scored 11 goals and provided an assist in the league so far and is currently second in the top scorer’s race. He is a keen dribbler and an excellent passer too. Joseph has executed 67 dribbles and 20 key passes in I-league 2021-22.