News Article

I-League 2017 Season Review: DSK Shivajians

Written by: Miqdad


A number of late goals conceded plagued DSK's results but the Pune club will consider this season a progressive one with their promising youth players and style of play...

Heading into their second season in the Hero I-League, DSK Shivajians finished 7th in the 10-team table, amassing 18 points from the same number of games for the season. It was a topsy-turvey season for the team in red, as they failed to string together a run of solid results, as they failed to see out games they dominated. Extraordinarily, DSK conceded 8 goals in 7 different games after the 80th minute mark. These late goals lead to 8 dropped points over the course of the season, a tally that could have helped them finish in the top five this season. Owned by the conglomerate DSK, the club epitomised its season in the final game at home to Minerva Punjab. Having cruised to a 3-0 lead at half-time after some sumptuous attacking football lead by Juan Quero, the Pune club stumbled at final block, conceding two goals in the last ten minutes, with the score incredibly reading 4-4. 

The season wasn't all doom and gloom for Dave Rogers' side though. Even though some might feel the club's results were not ideal, Rogers can take pride with the way he set his side out to play each game. DSK played fluent, attacking football, regardless of the ground or the opposition. They played along the ground, pressing from the front when not in possession and breaking with deadly pace in the transition. While they failed to rack up more than four wins from the 18 played, DSK always portrayed a gritty determination and stylish entertainment. Another huge positive that the club can take away from the season, was their unabating trust in their U-22 players, most of whom happened to be graduates from the DSK-Liverpool FC academy. The emergence of the likes of Jerry Lalrinzuala, Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Lallianzuala Chhangte as regulars at the highest level was a revelation. Along with them, Holicharan Narzary and Milan Singh also shone through during the season under Dave Rogers. The contribution of other youngster like Sairuatkima, Vanlalremkina and Rohit Kumar has not gone under the rather either.                        

 Fact Sheet of I-League 2016-17



Final Position: 7th

Games Played: 18

Won : 4

Lost :

Drawn : 6

Win %: 22.22% 

GF: 22 

GA: 30


 Pre Season


DSK Shivajians' biggest change this season was at the management level with Derrick Parreira leaving the club after a disappointing first season. He was replaced by Liverpudlian Dave Rogers as head coach. Rogers was previously heading the clubs International Academy in Loni on the outskirts of Pune. He was joined by Michael Rice, who also worked at the academy and the extremely experienced Barry Knowles. The club also retained only one foreign player, namely Juan Quero. DSK focused on recruiting young Indian players like Holicharan Narzary, Milan Singh and Seityasen Singh to mix with experienced professionals like Nirmal Chettri and Subrata Paul.

DSK Shivajians also changed their philosophy, promoting youth players, especially from their academy.  Large number of youth players made their debut this season whereas the players like Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Lallianzuala Chhangte were given regular spots in the starting XI.   

It was difficult to gauge where DSK Shivajians’ expectations lie due to the wholesale changes made at the club but the gaffer had made it clear at the start of the season that the key word was progress. Rogers had said that the players should be judged on the improvement of their performances rather than the results produced for the season.

 Top 3 Players


Juan Quero

Holicharan Narzary

Jerry Mawihmingthanga

The Spaniard was at the centre of each attacking move that DSK produced this season. The 32-year old playing in the central attacking midfield role was made captain in the long-term absence of Subrata Paul and he lead the side enigmatically scoring three goals and providing numerous assists to those around him. Quero was often accompanied in attack by youngsters and they certainly seemed to have learn a lot from the influential Spaniard.

The 22-year old forward played a starring role for the side from Pune, enjoying the added responsibility of leading the line in the absence of North Korean Kim Song-Yong. Narzary was a key cog in the fast paced, counter-attacking football that Dave Rogers’ team employed. His best performances came in two of DSK’s biggest home games this season. His brace against defending champions Bengaluru FC and his performance against state rivals Mumbai FC were exceptional. 



The 18-year-old central midfielder was in the news last year for being selected to train with Liverpool FC in England for a week, along with Lallianzuala Chhangte.  Jerry is a product of the DSK International Academy in Loni, and was promoted to the first team by his coach Rogers. The midfielder was handed the No. 8 shirt and played a regular role throughout the season, making strong tackles and keeping things going in the middle of the park. The youngster also added goals to his game to watch the end of the season, scoring in the derby romp of Mumbai FC and the winner against East Bengal in Kolkata.


Games: 18
Goals: 3

Games: 12
Goals: 5

Goals: 2


 Flop of the Season


Subrata Paul: The experienced goalkeeper missed a large part of the season at the start due to an unknown injury. Once introduced into the side the goalkeeper made several errors directly leading to goals in the last few minutes of matches.  He misjudged simple crosses on three separate occasions. These errors directly led to four dropped points and snatched chances of victory against Bengaluru FC at home.


 Top 3 Performances 


  1. DSK Shivajians FC 5-0 Mumbai FC (Match Report)

    2. East Bengal 0-1 DSK Shivajians (Match Rreport and Highlights)

    3. Shillong Lajong 1-2 DSK Shivajians (Match Report)



 Coach's Report Card


David Rogers’ first season in charge of a senior team was been a topsy-turvy one. Brought in to promote the youngsters at the club and play a vibrant, attacking style of football, Rogers has, to great extent succeeded with the former. What was lacking from his team’s performances was been the concentration and determination required to see off matches.  DSK have often played very well but failed to take their chances and hold onto their lead. This was been a consistent point of frustration for the Englishman this season, something that he’ll have to work doubly hard on, through the off-season. Rogers though, has showcased an emotional connection with his players, many of whom he coached at youth level at the academy. He has insisted that this season was about the progress made by the youngsters and he has certainly succeeded in overseeing the same.

 Lesson to be Learned


The biggest improvement the club must undertake is adding consistency to their performances. They were often able to go toe to toe with the top sides, yet failed to get the desired result, largely through a lack of clinical finishing and poor defending. They ended up conceding 11 goals in the last two fixtures, their lack of grit and focus was appalling. While the club was never in fear of a relegation battle due to their corporate entry exemption, they will club will surely be looking to improve on their 7th placed finish this season.



Gursher Kamra

It has been an interesting season for DSK. It was at times rather difficult to follow the side, due to the amount of late goals we conceded, but watching them play the way they did, for example, against Mumbai FC, was sheer joy. The future of the club is in good hands, regardless of where the I-League and ISL is headed; DSK will continue to produce many great talents who can one day play for India.


Published: Sat May 06, 2017 10:44 PM IST


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