The Indian Super League (ISL) has come on by leaps and bounds since being first established in 2013, with the league seeing young Indian players take the chance to play alongside some bonafide superstars of global football, such as Alessandro del Piero, David Trezeguet, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, David James and Nicolas Anelka, among others, and thus developing their skills and talent through regular game-time at a high level.
The ISL has often thrown up unknown gems and brought players into the spotlight, with a number of players catching the eye enough during the season to then be called up for the Indian national side. This year’s competition was no different, and while ATK won their third title to move ahead of Chennaiyin and into first place on the list of teams with most titles, there were players from all over the league who performed extremely well and could soon become fan favourites in the years to come. We look at five such players, who enhanced their reputations just like the very best online casino during the 2019/20 ISL season –
This was Carneiro’s debut season in the ISL, but you probably wouldn’t have guessed that from his performances on the pitch for Kerala Blasters. Despite the Blasters not having the best season according to BetRally India, the 29-year-old had a good campaign personally, popping up with five assists and also putting in a decent shift defensively. Carneiro, despite being 29 years old, is a relatively new find for Indian football fans, and his debut season showed that he has the potential to go on and improve even further as part of the Blasters defence in the coming seasons.
This 27-year-old was a fan favourite of the Chennai faithful, having already played a crucial role in Chennai City’s I-League triumph in the 2018/19 season, before being picked up by Chennaiyin for his debut ISL campaign. Despite being a midfielder, he was used as a full-back by head coach Owen Coyle, before also being used in defence alongside Anirudh Thapa. Vanspaul has always been a versatile player, capable of playing in multiple positions, and this helped Chennaiyin a lot this season, as they picked themselves up after a poor start and went on a dream run, which was only stopped by defeat to ATK in the ISL final. He may not have scored or assisted, but was still important to Chennaiyin’s tactics, with his work ethic proving to be a boon, whether he played at full-back, in midfield or in defence for Owen Coyle‘s side.
Sarangi started this ISL season on the back of a promising 2018/19 campaign, and took his game to another notch by becoming a regular for Odisha FC at full-back this season. Sarangi was the archetypal modern full-back, bombing up and down the flank and contributing both offensively and defensively. He was an important part of Odisha’s run to the semi-finals this season, and having recently signed a contract extension till 2023, he looks to be a crucial cog in coach Josep Gumbau’s plans for the next few years.
NorthEast United FC have always been renowned for bringing through a lot of talent from that part of the country, and this season was no exception, with 19-year-old midfielder Lalengmawia proving to be one of the bright spots for the club in a dismal season overall. He took his place in the side due to an injury crisis for the club, and his performances showed that he has the skill to be a regular member of the side. While he is a central midfielder, Lalengmawia was often used further forward as an attacking midfielder, or even on the left as a winger, to take advantage of his natural pace. He showed impressive dribbling ability as well, and is definitely one to watch out for in the coming seasons.
As a part of the eventual winners, Sumit Rathi has also now firmly pushed himself into the reckoning for the India squad. Coach Antonio Lopez Habas gave him a chance at right-back at the start of the season, and the defender paid him back with some superb displays which were crucial to ATK’s successful season. His form was recognized by the league as well, as he picked up the ISL Emerging Player award on the night of the final, and he looks like being an integral part of ATK as well as the Indian team for years to come.