Even with plenty of cash sloshing around these players could not find any takers and will be left questioning their stars…
The Indian Super League (ISL) 2017/18 promises to be the biggest ever with ten teams set to battle for the title for the first time in November later this year. However, owing to the introduction of two new teams – Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC – every club has to start with an almost clean slate in ISL-4, having only had the option of retaining two senior players.
Tata Jamshedpur, being a new club, had no players in their squad and therefore, were allowed to have the first picks in the draft. They started off proceedings in the first and second rounds, after which almost every team got on the same page regarding the number of Indian players.
There was a lot of money sloshing around all day as the clubs assembled the core of their Indian contingent ahead of the tournament and whilst most of the players got picked, there were some who were left unsold.
Here is a look of the best playing squad from those left unsold after the draft including a starting XI and a bench.
Sandip Nandy (36 lakhs)
Nandy turned out for Kerala Blasters last time out
The Indian Veteran may not be as young as the game demands but the ammunition of experience he possesses is unmatched. The 42-year-old goalkeeper has a remarkable exposure of 18 years of domestic professional football. Unfortunately, the starting value of ₹ 3.6 Lakhs could not entice any of the franchises as he remained unsold.
Denzil Franco (8 lakhs) — Gouramangi Singh (35 lakhs) — Dharmaraj Ravanan (50 lakhs) —- Nallapan Mohanraj (30 lakhs)
Ravanan has bags of experience having previously played for FC Pune City
The right-back Denzil Franco is a product of the Sesa FA where he was felicitated for being India’s outstanding player after graduating from the academy. He has represented India at the U-19 level and at senior level competing in events in Turkmenistan, Bangladesh, Portugal, Maldives, Malaysia, Qatar, UAE and Sri Lanka.
Whereas left-back Nallappan Mohanraj had faced rejections quite a number of times in his youth career. He hit the highs once he was signed by Mohun Bagan in the 2007-08 season. The main connection of these full-backs is that they both were in the ATK squad in their 2014 ISL triumph.
Centre-back Gouramangi Singh is a product of the Tata Football Academy. He has plied his trade with many clubs in the country. Over the course of his professional career, Singh has won nearly every club trophy in India. He was also voted Best Defender in the I-League for the 2008/09 season. The 31-year-old is one of the regulars in national colours.
Centre-back partner Dharmaraj Ravanan has been rather successful with Churchill Brothers and more recently Chennai City FC, winning every possible trophy. He captained the team to the I-League (2013) and Federation Cup (2014) titles. He played for FC Pune City in the inaugural edition of the ISL. Cumulatively, the defence would initially cost around ₹ 1.1 Cr.
Syed Rahim Nabi (10 lakhs) — Denson Devadas (15 lakhs) — Beikokhhei (10 lakhs) — Nikhil Kadam (5 lakhs)
Beikhokhei Beingaichho is a natural right midfielder or winger. Born and brought up in the eastern part of India, he started showing his fooballing mettle since a very tender age. He won the IFA U-19 Player of the year in 2009. He has been instrumental for Bengaluru FC since joining them in 2013. On the other hand, Nikhil Kadam is a man of many talents. He is a traditioanl left winger with qualities to play as the attacking midfielder as well. Maharashtrian by birth, he has plied his trade for three Maharashtra clubs. The 23 year old is fast and has the potential to be a star of the future.
Syed Rahim Nabi’s career has gone downhill ever since he was hit by a foreign object in the Kolkata Derby in 2012
Rahim Nabi is a product of the Tata Football Academy. Nabi started his career playing as a striker, then moved to midfield and then played as wing-back. In international matches, he has played as a full-back. Nabi currently plays for Mohammedan Sporting Club in the I-League 2nd Division. His partner, Denson Devadas was born in Burnacherry (Burnshire), Kannur, Kerala. His footballing skills were a common amusement for the locals. He was the captain of his school team. Not until the age of 22 years did he play in midfield. Always fond of being a striker, his coaches at Viva Kerala shifted him to the centre of the park and since then there has no stopping him. The total value of the midfield would be around ₹ 1.4 Cr.
Alan Deory (10 lakhs) — Manandeep Singh (15 lakhs)
Alen Deory is considered one of the brightest youngsters in India. Deory’s strengths are his raw pace, powerful running, technical dribbling and robustness that defies his age. The 21-year-old can play on either wing but is deadly upfront. He has been playing for the national side since the age of 12 and now possess ample amount of experience to waste as an unsold player.
Manandeep Singh is a striker, born and brought up in Haryana. He has been in professional football since 2010, plying his trade at several clubs. He has been instrumental for the national side as well having debuted at the U-16 level in 2007. The duo would have cost up to 35 Lakhs.
Priyant Kumar Singh
The bench consists of a goalkeeper in the name of Priyant Singh who plays in the I League. The 25-year-old Indian shot-stopper is yet to feature for the national side. accompanying him is centre-back Justin Stephen and a pair of full-backs, Abhishek Das and Debabrata Roy. Between the bench defence, they share 35 years of football, enough to make the substitutions strong.
Midfielder Godwin Franco is a winner of 14 trophies with various clubs in 13 seasons of professional football so far, making him one of the most successful players to have played in India of all time.
Strikers Uttam Rai and Nadong Bhutia are household names as they have been involved with several clubs of ISL in past seasons.