AUGUSTO RODRIGUES | NT
Panaji: Thirteen players from various clubs of the I-League will be part of Indian Super League (ISL) 6, which according to Star Sports is set to start on October 20. If the I-League is once again going to prove to be the feeder of players of Indian origin to ISL, just two players from India have swapped ISL teams eleven days before the transfer window closes on August 31.
Manuel Lanzarote, the star player of FC Goa in ISL 4 who moved to ATK last season and Miku Fedor of Bengaluru FC will be the two big losers of ISL as fans await the start of the new season amidst uncertainty over the roadmap for football in India.
Lanza created a bond with FC Goa’s highest goal scorer Ferran Corominas (alias Coro) awakening in football fans from Goa the old bond formed by Arjuna award winner Bruno Coutinho and his former teammate Roy Barreto. The tie was then broken when Roy left to pursue a career in USA and Lanza now returns to Spain after playing for a year with ATK.
Lanza, who had a game similar to Bruno, had a powerful shot and was smart in anticipating weaknesses in the defence as the game progressed and made providing the easiest finishes to Coro look so simple. Lanza had to play a different role with ATK but was the focal point of his team’s attack.
Venezuelan Miku Fedor is the other foreign player who will be missed by football fans in India, especially Bengaluru FC because the player formed the central part of the team’s strike force. Sunil Chhetri got many of the goals but it was Miku who left the crowds in awe with his style of football – persuasive.
Four of the thirteen players that have moved from the I-League to ISL are from Indian Arrows – the AIFF team that was formed to cater to the India U-17 players that participate in the FIFA U-17 World Cup hosted by India in 2017. The remaining nine are from the other I- League teams.
Wayne Vaz from Goa who played on loan for Churchill Brothers FC last season from FC Pune City has moved to ISL side NorthEast United FC and will fill in the gap created after Rowllin Borges, the lone player from Goa playing for NorthEast United FC, signed for Mumbai City FC.
Chennai City FC had three players from Goa in ISL 4 and is probably expected to start ISL 6 with no player from Goa. Keenan Almeida, Fulganco Cardozo and Francis Fernandes joined Chennaiyin through the players draft in 2017-18. Keenan shifted to FC Pune City, Fuganco was dropped and Francis Fernandes was part of the team during ISL 5. Francis Fernandes was part of Chennaiyin FC during the team’s Asian Cup Champions League debut. However, his contract is yet to be renewed.
No player from Goa has made it to ISL this season.