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ISL 2023-24 season review: Hyderabad FC

Published at :May 18, 2024 at 7:41 PM
Modified at :May 18, 2024 at 7:41 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)


The season was one to forget for Hyderabad FC as they finished rock bottom in the league.

In sports, it is often said that it’s tough to reach the top, but it’s tougher to stay there. This analogy fits well in the case of Hyderabad FC. Their fortunes took a terrible turn after a mesmerising 2021-22 campaign when they won the Indian Super League playoffs by beating Kerala Blasters FC in the final under Manolo Marquez.

The Spanish mentor left the outfit at the start of the 2023-24 season after guiding them to another playoff finish during the 2022-23 edition. His departure unearthed a can of worms that obliterated Hyderabad FC from inside out. Their financial incapabilities led to all but one foreign player leaving the club, citing unpaid dues. Former employees of the club accused the club of not paying their dues which led to FIFA serving multiple bans to the Nizams.

These off-the-field issues destroyed any sort of team chemistry which led to poor results on the pitch. There was a major exodus of domestic and foreign players in the 2024 January transfer window that reduced once champions of the ISL to playing reserve players and youngsters for the rest of the season. 

It is safe to say it was the worst season in Hyderabad FC’s history but here is a look at how bad it was:

Fact sheet

ISL 2023-24 season review: Hyderabad FC

Top Performers

Makan Winkle Chothe

ISL 2023-24 season review: Hyderabad FC Makan Winkle Chothe

Makan Winkle Chothe was one of the few positives from a dire 2023-24 campaign for Hyderabad FC. The 24-year-old got plenty of game-time due to several starters leaving the club due to the dwindling financial situation. It was the winger’s drive and hunger to prove his mettle that gave HFC fans a few reasons to celebrate. While he scored only one goal, his pace, movement and ability to take on defenders mesmerised the crowd on many occasions.

Mark Zothanpuia

Mark Zo found a starting place in Hyderabad FC’s line-up even before the exodus of high-profile players. The 22-year-old impressed first-team coach Conor Nestor and earned Thangboi Singto’s trust with masterful performances in the left-back role. His versatility also allowed him to put a shift in the midfield whenever the situation warranted it. He made 18 appearances and also provided an assist for the club.

Joao Victor

Joao Victor was the only foreign player who did not leave Hyderabad FC. The challenge of leading a young and inexperienced group of Indian players was tough but the skipper did not waver in his duties. He often played in a makeshift centre-back role to keep things tight at the back and used his experience to guide the youngsters. He finished the season as the club’s top scorer with two goals.


Abdul Rabeeh

To be fair, the whole of the Hyderabad FC squad, the coaching staff and the owners could be listed here. However, if one is to nitpick, then Abdul Rabeeh emerges as a major underperformer. With players like Joseph Knowles, Mohammad Yasir, etc. leaving, Rabeeh enjoyed a lot of playing minutes but did not deliver as per expectations. The exceedingly quick winger showed immaturity in his decision-making in the final third and produced only one assist in 18 matches.

Top Performances

1. Chennaiyin FC 0 – 1 Hyderabad FC

2. Mumbai City FC 1 – 1 Hyderabad FC

3. Hyderabad FC 2 – 2 NorthEast United FC

Manager’s Report Card

Hyderabad FC promoted Thangboi Singto as the head coach of Hyderabad FC after the departure of Manolo Marquez and gave Conor Nestor the tag of first-team coach.

ISL 2023-24 season review: Hyderabad FC Thangboi Singto
Thangboi Singto deserves praise for the way in which he made the youngsters fight. (Courtesy: ISL)

With Thangboi Singto leading press conferences and taking charge of the team for the season, his performance as manager/head coach left a lot to be desired. Having said that, he was set up to fail after losing all of the foreign players but one and several high-profile domestic figures from the team. The tactician tried a few different combinations but nothing seemed to work due to the inexperience of the young players.

Lessons to be Learned

One of the first and most important lessons that Hyderabad FC took away from the season is to pay their players, coaches, and staff their dues. It is imperative to keep the finances in order. The problems started off the field and the domino effect led to them winning only one game during the season and recording their lowest ever points total in the ISL league standings.

It is uncertain how Hyderabad FC are going to resurrect themselves. FIFA has banned the club from registering players and those restrictions will stay in place until their financial situation gets sorted. Without a new investor, the financial situation is unlikely to get better. An uncertain future stares HFC in the face.

Fan View

ISL 2023-24 season review: Hyderabad FC Atul Pandey
Atul Pandey

It was a sorry sight to see Hyderabad FC losing so many foreign players one by one due to unknown reasons. When news broke out about the financial situation of the club, it was heartbreaking for fans like myself. The domestic players leaving in the winter was the final nail in the coffin and it was difficult to digest how badly the side was competing. Seeing the club go from winning the ISL 2021-22 to finishing rock bottom this season was a major shock. 

However, the young players should be rewarded for giving their utmost in a terrible situation. Winning the game against Chennaiyin FC, our only win of the season, was a memorable moment. Young Indian players like Makan Winkle Chothe deserve praise for their efforts.

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