Indian Super League Season II – Northeast United FC Team Preview
North East United takes on Kerala Blasters in their Indian Super League season II inaugural match. Here is a preview of the team from Aditya Shandilya.
Northeast United FC had a dismal outing in the inaugural season of ISL last year despite starting out well as they finished at the bottom of the table. Though it was hardly a reflection of the talent at their disposal. Their management now had put disappointment behind and rebuild the squad with some good acquisitions. The heart of the highlanders remains the northeastern players as all domestic players are from that region of country.
Starting from the goal post, in Lalthuammawia Ralte of I League runners up Bengaluru FC they notched up a jewel. Ralte appeared in each and every game of BFC this season and managed a lot of clean sheets. Gennaro Bracigliano has been handed a goalkeeping coach cum player role this season. His quality was obvious in ISL 1 with Chennaiyin FC and it provides north eastern club with added options along with their young Kerala born GK T P Rehenesh. They have the advantage of having two good Indian goalkeeper in Ralte and Rehenesh.
In defence they have retained Miguel Garcia and snatched Kerala Blasters FC most reliable defender in ISL 1 Cedric Hengbert. Garcia is the player of the season for Sporting club de Goa this time around and is credible center back. Hengbert and Garcia may come up as a strong defensive wall in, if they click. Along with them will be Aibor Khongjee who was recently is called for national duty against Iran after his stellar show for Shillong Lajong in I-league. If Farias go for four center back then Robin Gurung , Raju Yumnum and Zohmingliana Ralte have to compete for the spot in opening 11. While Ralte is centre back who is good in the air on the other hand Robin and Yumnum are left back with Yumnum played 16 games for Pune FC last season.
In midfield they have their marquee signing Simao Sabrosa to rely upon and if he still match fit then he can team up with Bruno Arias who switched from Delhi Dynamos. But the pick of the auction for highlanders, Seityasen Singh will be the key man in midfield if the team have to succeed. His performance in I league for Royal Wahingdoh make him the second best midfielder after Eugeneson Lyngdoh and team’s assistant manager Santosh kashyap will know what Seityasen exactly brings to the team. Sanju Pradhan, Boithang Haokip and Marlingki Suting provide options in the flank alongside Bengaluru FC’s Siam Hangal and Alen Deory. Midfield looks very versatile and experienced as well.
Coming to the forward line, the surprise grab by Northeast United is Nicolas Velez. The Argentine is in tremendous form for Warrior FC of S league by netting 21 goals in 26 appearances. If he can replicate the same showing in ISL then he will turn out to be the buy of the season. In Holicharan Narzary we have a very talented partner who is now pretty successful in the national scene as well. Boubacar Sanogo, their latest signing is also a goal machine, he may not be at his best but provides much needed experience in forward line while Ghana’s Francis Dadzie is also a young prolific striker in good form. This makes North East’s forward line a formidable one.
So now it is up to NEUFC to come out all guns blazing in Indian Super League.
They have picked good foreign and a best Indian goalkeeper and so there is less to worry on this front.
Defence : 6
They are short on options as far as foreign players are concerned. Injury to any of them will be a huge concern.
Midfield : 7
They will rely lot on their marquee player Simao Sabrosa and Seityasen Singh. These players have to perform for highlanders to succeed. Seityasen is key between their transition between defense and attack and as he has been in good form recently.
Forward : 7
They have the players who can score goals but lack of Indian players up front may cause problem in cramped tournament like this. Injury to Holicharan Narzary is injured and this could disrupt their plans. His timely recovery is important for Cesar Farias’s team.
As far as Cesar Farias is concerned, the ex Venezuela coach have a reputation of bringing less fancied squad to the top as coach of Venezuela junior and senior teams. His assistant Santosh Kashyap also made his name during his stint at Royal Wahingdoh during last I league season. Both
believes in strong midfield so they may go for 4-4-2 or 3-4-3 formation.
Formation & starting line-up : 4-4-2 or 3-4-3
Ralte, Garcia, Aibor, Raju, Hengbert, Simao, Bruno, Seityasen, Sanju Pradhan, Holicharan, Nicolas
Player to watch:
Nicolas velez. He is well acclaimed striker as of now and many Asian clubs will be keeping a keen eye on him. Easily makes him the most important player for Northeast United. Last time around highlanders struggled due to their lack of goals, mainly due to the failure of James Keene and Durga Boro. Hopefully Velez will step-up and make up for the paucity of goals for North East United.