Hyderabad FC are the newcomers to the ISL replacing the defunct FC Pune City for the sixth season of the competitio. The franchise was taken over by Vijay Madduri, a Hyderabad based entrepreneur and Varun Tripuraneni, the former CEO of Kerala Blasters. The owners decided to move the franchise to the city of Hyderabad, where they will be expecting to bring the past and lost glory back to where it belongs under the experienced Phil Brown who will be in the dugout leading the team for their first season in ISL.
• SQUAD FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON:
Goalkeepers : Kamaljit Singh(C), Anuj Kumar, Laxmikant Kattimani.
Defenders: Gurtej singh, Matt Kilgallon, Rafa Lopez, Ashish Rai, Sahil Panwar, Tarif Akhand, Keenen Almeida, Abhash Thapa.
Midfielders: Adil khan, Alwyn George, Marko Stankovic, Shankar Sampingiraj, Laldanmawia Ralte, Faheem Ali, Deependra Negi, Abhishek Halder, Rohit Kumar, Sahil Tavora, Nestor Gordillo.
Forwards: Bobo, Marcelinho, Nikhil Poojary, Giles Barnes, Mohammed Yasir, Gani Ahamed Nigam, Robin Singh, Jakob Vanlalhlimpuia.
• TEAM ANALYSIS:
The squad for the upcoming season looks settled in every position on the pitch. The goalkeeping area looks solid with India’s third choice goalie Kamaljit Singh as the first choice for the team this season and will look to develop and become a future number one for the Blue Tigers as well. Kattimani will be a good backup to have with years of experience in Indian football with him. In defensive areas, players like Rafa Lopez, Gurtej Singh and Kilgallon will be rotated in central defender’s position. Sahil Panwar and Keenan Almeida most likely would be the first choice fullbacks for their first season in the ISL with Ashish Rai and Abhash Thapa as rotational options. The midfield looks settled with Adil Khan anchoring and protecting the backline with Rohit Kumar and Stankovic in front of Adil Khan and for rotation and injury problems the squad has Negi, Shankar Alwyn and Sahil Tavora who is back in India after a stint overseas with SC Alvarenga in Portugal.
They will be missing the services of Nestor Gordillo for at least 8 matches if the ban is not reduced by the AIFF Appeals Committee. For the attacking midfield role Abhishek Halder, Ralte are very capable and could be the ones to watch as they would try to make impression for the upcoming qualifiers that India is scheduled to play. The attacking segment in the squad looks exciting as the team has added the fire power and Goals by signing the 34 year old striker Bobo who will be partnered by the experienced Marcelinho and Nikhil Poojary in the first few matches. It is to be seen whether players like Jakob, Yasir, Gani Ahamed, Tarif and Faheem will get enough chances to prove their talents.
• TEAM RATING (7/10):
GK: 7/10 DEFENCE: 7/10 MIDFIELD: 7/10 ATTACK: 7/10
The captaincy for this season is given to Kamaljit Singh by the Head coach Phil Brown who will be looking for a good start to the season from his players and fight for the top four spot. In my opinion Phil brown is a brilliant coach who can guide this team ahead with his experience in Indian football which he gathered last time and might be able to build a squad full of winners.
• PAST RECORD:
The team is a new entrant to the competition with no past records with any matches played so far in Indian football leagues.
• PRE SEASON:
The team has begun it’s preparation for the new season of ISL and already has played three friendlies in Goa of which they have won two and drawn one against Real Kashmir FC. The other two teams who they played against are Churchill Brothers and a university team from Goa. They have arranged a friendly against the former I-League champions Minerva Punjab before their season get started.
• MANAGER’S QUOTES:
The manager has already expressed his views on the team and squad that they are already training hard to be fit and ready for their debut season in ISL. He has spoken to the media at the launch of the Official jersey that the whole squad is looking forward for a great first season in ISL with many of them already experienced with games in the ISL. Phil said, “We want to bring the glory days and past legacy of this beautiful city back in the with this football club in the coming years and grow the football sport within the state”. The coach has Mehrajuddin Wadoo as his assistant who has been at this level for many years having played in the ISL for teams like Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC.
• FINAL VERDICT:
In my honest view I think that this team looks great on the paper and will challenge for the top five and even for a playoff spot in their debut ISL season and may surprise us with their performances on the football pitch. There are few players to watch out for of which the likes of Ralte, Ashish Rai, Abhishek Halder may impress Igor Stimaç and come into the frame for getting selected for the Blue Tigers in near future. Overall, Hyderabad FC will prove to be a tough nut to crack in the coming season.