ISL: A look at the teams

ISL: A look at the teams

With the fourth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) just under a few hours away, we look at the 10 teams  that will challenge for the title this season.

ATK

The most successful team in the short history of the Indian Super League, this Kolkata-based side has won the title twice in the past and come into the fourth season as the defending champions.

Though  an  end to their partnership with Spanish giants Atletico de Madrid forced them to change their name to ATK from Atletico de Kolkata, they will be hoping that it doesn't have an impact on their fortunes as their new head coach  Teddy Sheringham will look to work his magic  with his boys.  

Best show: Champions (2014, 2016)

Head coach: Teddy Sheringham

Key player:  Robbie Keane (Ireland)

 

Bengaluru FC

After taking the Indian footballing fraternity by storm with their  stupendous show in the past four years, Bengaluru FC will embark on a new challenge as they make their debut in the Indian Super League this year.

The two-time I-League champions come in to the ISL after a good show in the AFC Cup, reaching the semifinals before bowing out to Tajikistan's FC Istiklol. Head coach Albert Roca will be hoping to maintain the same form when they enter a new territory.

Best show: Debut

Head coach: Albert Roca

Key player: Sunil Chhetri (India)

 

Chennaiyin FC

This team has helped in reviving the football passion in Chennai. A city that once  had teams regularly participating in the national league had fallen off the radar in the past few years. But Chennaiyin seems to have changed that.  

One of the most impressive teams in the league, Chennaiyin will hope  for a quality show as they look to regain the title they won in 2015.

Best show: Champions (2015)

Head Coach:  John Gregory

Key player:  Jeje Lalpekhlua (India)

 

Delhi Dynamos

After a forgettable first season, this team from the capital city stitched together a string of impressive performances that saw them reach the semifinals in the second and the third seasons. But they have not managed to go beyond that. This year the side will be hoping to push further and reach the summit tie and win their maiden title.

Best show: Semifinals (2015, 2016)

Head coach:  Miguel Angel Portugal

Key player:  Kalu Uche (Nigeria)

 

FC Goa

Three  seasons under the well-known Brazilian tactician Zico saw FC Goa reach the semifinals twice and the final once. They finished last last year leading to the exit of Zico. Under new coach Spaniard Sergio Lobera, Goa  could change their playing style to a direct way the Spaniards are famous for. And to aid this,  Lobera has roped in a number of Spanish players from the second and the third division in the Spanish football system. It would be interesting to see how  Lobera mixes his Spanish flair with the Goan style this season.

Best show: Final (2015)

Head coach: Sergio Lobera

Key player:  Manuel Lanzarote (Spain)

 

Jamshedpur FC

The TATA Group-owned side are in their debut season and have  roped in Steve Coppell as their head coach. Coppell had guided Kerala Blasters to the ISL final last season. Coppell, staying true to his philosophy, has gone ahead and manged to get a  strong spine for the side with the likes for defender  Anas Edathodika,  midfielders  Mehtab Hossain and Souvik Chakraborty. They have also signed former ATK winger Sameehg Doutie, who has been a consistent performer in the last two editions.

Best show: Debut

Head coach:  Steve Coppell  

Key player:  Sameehg Doutie (South Africa)

 


Kerala Blasters

 

One of the  entertaining sides, Kerala Blasters lost in the final  on two occasions (2014, 2016). But with the likes of CK Vineeth,  Dimitar Berbatov and  Arata Izumi in the attack and Sandesh Jhingan, Rino Anto and  Wes Brown in the defence, the Yellow Army will be keen to go one better this time.

Best show: Final (2014, 2016)

Head coach:  René Meulensteen

Key player: CK Vineeth (India)

 

FC Pune City

With a new-look side led by Brazilian goal machine Marcelinho, Pune will look to improve their standing. Ranko Popovic might have replaced  Antonio Habas as the head coach, but that doesn't seem to have changed the team's philosophy. With influential players like Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Jackichand Singh missing from the squad this season, it would be interesting to see how the side lines-up their title challenge.

Best show: Sixth (2014, 2016)

Head coach:  Ranko Popovic  

Key Player:  Marcelinho (Brazil)

 

Mumbai City FC

After two years of  below-par performances, Mumbai City FC finally came good last year and finished on top of the league table. But  in the semifinal play-off the  Alexandre Guimarães-coached was no match for the eventual champions ATK.   Their biggest challenge will lie in  replacing  Indian talisman Sunil Chhetri and the powerful forward in Sony Norde.

Best show: Semifinal (2016)

Head coach:  Alexandre Guimarães

Key player:  Achille Emana (Cameroon)

 

North East United FC

The John Abraham-owned outfit is one of the two teams that have been ousted from the league stage in all the three editions of ISL, other being Pune. They have roped in Joao De Deus as the head coach after Nelo Vingada left to take over the Malaysian national team.

A team that has stayed true their ethos of promoting Indian players have a handful of guys who can prove to be the difference for them this season. Indian international Rowllin Borges will be the key in the midfield. Goalkeeper TP  Rehenesh also will be in focus.

Best show: Fifth (2015, 2016)

Head coach:  João de Deus

Key player: Rowllin Borges (India)

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