The Nizams will hope to defend their title in the forthcoming season.

Hyderabad FC will step into the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season as the reigning champions. The outfit won its first-ever silverware last season after defeating Kerala Blasters in the final to clinch the ISL trophy. Finishing second in the table in the league phase was also a huge achievement for the club, which only came into existence in 2019.

Manolo Marquez received a lot of praise for his sensational work with the Nizams, turning a struggling team into champions inside two seasons. However, the expectations will be higher in the upcoming season as Hyderabad FC are no longer the underdogs in the league. It will be difficult to produce a similar form as last year with players like Asish Rai and Juanan not part of the team.

Having said that, the club have managed to retain the core of the squad which achieved success last term, especially the likes of Bartholomew Ogbeche, Javier Siverio, etc. Furthermore, new additions like Odei Onaindia and Borja Herrera will surely play an important part too. On that note, here is a look at how Hyderabad FC will likely lineup for the 2022-23 season of the ISL:

Goalkeeper – Laxmikant Kattimani

Laxmikant Kattimani
Kattimani produced a ‘heroic’ performance in the ISL final last season (Courtesy: HFC Media)

Laxmikant Kattimani was the hero of the team after he saved three penalties in the shootout against Kerala Blasters to clinch the ISL title. He will keep his place in the lineup and hope to replicate last season’s form where he kept three clean sheets and made 61 saves, the most by any goalkeeper in the season.

Right-Back – Borja Herrera

Borja Herrera is a new arrival at Hyderabad FC. Since the departure of Asish Rai, who joined ATK Mohun Bagan, the Nizams needed an expert addition in the full-back role. The 29-year-old is an attack-minded full-back who can play on either flank.

His experience will be key in the forthcoming season and Marquez will rely on him to provide an attacking threat down the channels, which became a characteristic of HFC’s gameplay.

Centre-Back – Odei Onaindia

Odei Onaindia
Onaindia played for CD Mirandes in La Liga 2 last season (Courtesy: HFC Media)

Odei Onaindia returns to Hyderabad FC after a year’s gap. The centre-back was key in the Nizams finishing fifth in the league during the 2020-21 season. He played for Spanish side CD Mirandes in La Liga 2 last season and comes back to India with a fresh challenge ahead of him. Filling in Juanan’s shoes will be a tough task, as he was a significant factor in HFC’s success last season.

Centre-Back – Chinglensana Singh

Chinglensana Singh is one of India’s best centre-backs and will continue to hold his place in Hyderabad FC’s starting lineup. He has previously partnered with Odei Onaindia, which makes it easier for both individuals to forge strong chemistry. The 25-year-old is maturing into a good ball-playing defender who is also looking to become a regular for the Indian football team.

Left-Back – Akash Mishra

Akash Mishra
Mishra signed a three-year contract extension this summer (Courtesy: HFC Media)

Akash Mishra was close to joining a Japanese club but the move did not materialise in the summer transfer window. He is one of the most hardworking players on the HFC roster and a fabulous modern full-back who loves to attack as much as he loves to defend. The 20-year-old is a huge asset for Manolo Marquez and an upcoming star in Indian football, who will be one of the first names in the starting lineup.

Central Midfielder –  Hitesh Sharma

It will be interesting to see how much responsibility is given to Hitesh Sharma who has matured a lot under Manolo Marquez. Souvik Chakrabarti’s departure means there is a growing possibility that Sharma will be a starter alongside Joao in the upcoming season. He started four out of five games for HFC at Durand Cup 2022, which could be a sign of things to come.

Hyderabad FC Predicted XI
Hyderabad FC predicted XI for ISL 2022-23 season

Central Midfielder – Joao Victor

Joao Victor is the captain of the team and an obvious starter in the central midfield role. The Brazilian is one of the most influential players in the team and dominates the centre of the field with authority. He is a box-to-box midfielder, who also creates chances from a deeper role and provides cover to the defence at the same time. His experience is what drives HFC players and keeps them on their toes.

Right Winger – Nikhil Poojary

Nikhil Poojary had a goal and two assists in 19 appearances last season, but more noteworthy was his industry down the right flank. He played both as a full-back and as a winger as the situation demanded. Thanks to his impressive form last year, Poojary also got a national team call-up. Aniket Jadhav’s departure could improve his chances of starting. 

Attacking Midfielder – Mohammad Yasir

Mohammad Yasir
Yasir has already represented Hyderabad FC in more than 50 matches (Courtesy: HFC Media)

Mohammad Yasir should retain his place in the lineup into the new season. The 24-year-old has impressed Manolo Marquez and his versatility makes him a strong asset for the team. He scored a crucial goal in the ISL 2021-22 semi-final first leg against ATKMB and also registered two assists in 16 matches. It will be an important season for Yasir who can stamp his authority on Indian football.

Left Winger – Halicharan Narzary

Halicharan Narzary did not get a lot of gametime last term owing to injury concerns. However, the winger finished the season well and also made the most notable mark in HFC’s campaign, which was scoring the winning penalty in the final against Kerala Blasters.

Unless Yasir Mohammad plays on the left wing due to a tweak in the lineup, then Narzary should take his place on the left flank and aim to cause trouble with his pace and crossing accuracy.

Striker – Bartholomew Ogbeche

Bartholomew Ogbeche Hyderabad FC
Ogbeche clinched the ISL Golden Boot last season with 18 goals (Courtesy: HFC Media)

Bartholomew Ogbeche will continue to lead Hyderabad FC’s forward line into the upcoming season. The all-time leading ISL goalscorer with 53 goals, was instrumental in HFC winning the ISL trophy last year. Despite his age, the 37-year-old scored five goals in five 2022 Durand Cup appearances.

He was in a league of his own last term, winning the golden boot after scoring 18 goals for the Nizams, eight ahead of Igor Angulo who was the second highest goalscorer with Greg Stewart.

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