Top 3 Indian Talents
Football is in. And it’s quite likely to stay put in this country for the foreseeable future.
Any apprehensions about this sport fitting into our sporting culture have been resolved and relaxed more so now than ever. European leagues have also now amassed a significantly large fan base in India, with fans obsessing over clubs and players from shores afar. The football fever has never been higher.
A welcome addition to this rising tide is the increased attention given to the ISL and the I-League. Local talents are now thriving in this new-found love from fans. Stadiums are breaking record attendance numbers week after week, while the media in India has finally begun dedicating more space in their sport columns for everything desi.
This focus towards Indian football has already begun paying dividends. The rise in talented individuals breaking through to elite competition in India has increased manifold.
Here are the top 3 talents plying their trade in the top tier who will pave the way for India’s football future.
The teenager first caught the attention of former Bengaluru FC (BFC) manager Ashley Westwood who had nothing but praise for the Malsawnmzuala’s potential. The energetic midfielder impressed with solid performances under Westwood, also grabbing the eyeballs of n of the West Block Blues, the fervent fan group of BFC.
Although he hasn’t featured much under BFC’s new manager Albert Roca, Indian football enthusiasts expect the youngster to break into the first team on a regular basis soon enough and take advantage of owner Parth Jindal’s vision of building an all-conquering, all-Indian club side.
2) Udanta Singh
The pacy winger, currently plying his trade for Bengaluru FC, is already regarded as Sunil Chettri’s successor by the BFC top management. Having established a first team spot in Albert Roca’s BFC side, the 21 year old was also retained by BFC for the upcoming ISL season in addition to being recently awarded the ‘Young Player of The Year’ at the Football Players Association of India’s (FPAI) awards ceremony.
He is expected to be a key part of Roca’s plans to cement BFC’s dominance in the first ISL season and set new benchmarks for Asian glory in AFC tournaments.
One thing’s for certain though; Sunil Chettri has someone to pass to mantle of responsibility to.
3) Brandon Fernandes
The attacking midfielder has been around the Indian circuit, having represented clubs such as Sporting Goa, Mumbai City FC, Mohan Bagan, and Churchill Brothers. Fernandes is a graduate from the ASD Academy in South Africa and was in the running for a potential contract with the likes of Lecesiter City, Reading, and Sunderland, none of them materialising though.
He eventually returned to India and began his football career with stints for clubs in the I-League, the first of which was Sporting Goa.
While most of his time in 2015 and 2016 was plagued by injury troubles, his stint with Churchill Brothers was injury-free and he shone brightly. Fernandes will be looking to take this form with him and deliver the goods for Goa in the upcoming ISL season and gain some momentum in his fledgling career. There are certainly a number of eyes on him with expectations riding high.