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ISL: Odisha FC is the youngest — Every squad profiled, Part 2

ISL: Odisha FC is the youngest — Every squad profiled, Part 2

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 6 Nov 2020 4:30 AM GMT

The Bridge analyses the depth that each Indian Super League (ISL) club has in different positions and tries to figure out which teams are younger overall and which ones have put their money on experience over youthful exuberance.

In part 1, we analysed ATK Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, Kerala Blasters FC and SC East Bengal. The Red and Golds turned out to have the oldest squad among all 11 teams, here we find out which ISL club has the youngest.

Positional roles have been assigned according to the information provided on the league’s official website.

FC Goa

(Squad Average - 24.86)

(Gk - 23.25, Def - 25.22, Mid - 25.33, Att - 24.40)

One of the most pleasant teams to watch in the ISL, FC Goa has always been different in the way they operate in terms of their gameplay as well as providing domestic players a platform to shine. Indications are that it’s going to be the same this year as well under new head coach Juan Ferrando who has made it a point to include a number of young Indian players from all over the country.

Edu Bedia (Source: FC Goa Media)

In goal, it is going to be a straight shootout between the young Mohammad Nawaz and the experienced Naveen Kumar, with support from youngsters Shubham Das (22) and Antonio D’Silva (20). The Gaurs’ defence bears a new look after the departure of Mourtada Fall and the retirement of Carlos Pena, with Ivan Gonzalez and James Donachie set to take over the mantle.

Other experienced heads include Seriton Fernandes and Mohamed Ali, with newcomers Sarineo Fernandes, Sanson Pereira and Leander D’Cunha set to challenge them for a starting berth. However, the pick of the Indian lot has to be Saviour Gama. Still just 23, he made 11 appearances last term and impressed one and all with his game-reading and energy on the pitch and should make the left-back position his own this time around.

Goa’s midfield features the usual suspects Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Lenny Rodrigues, Seiminlen Doungel and the ultra-impressive 21-year-old Princeton Rebello. They have also added Spaniards Alberto Noguera and Jorge Ortiz in their ranks, making it one of the most fluid midfield units in the league.

However, what should get fans most excited are the arrivals of Redeem Tlang and Alexander Romario Jesuraj from NorthEast United and Mohun Bagan (loan) respectively. Another young name worth remembering is Phrangki Buam with the former Shillong Lajong and FC Bengaluru United player having joined Goa on a three-year deal. Apart from Igor Angulo who is 36, all their other attackers are below 23 and should get ample opportunities to prove their mettle over the course of the campaign. Our picks? Devendra Murgaonkar and Ishaan Pandita.

Hyderabad FC

(Squad Average - 24.66)

(Gk - 25.25, Def - 21.50, Mid - 25.54, Att - 26.29)


Manuel Roca’s Hyderabad side will be looking to put up an improved display this season after a disappointing 2019-20 where they finished bottom of the pile with just 2 wins in 18 matches.

The Nizams have made wholesale changes in attack, bringing in Joel Chianese and Fran Sandaza to partner Aridane Santana, who was a revelation last season for Odisha FC. They will be ably supported by younger players like Ishan Dey, Liston Colaco and Rohit Danu who will all be looking to make a mark.

With the youngest defence in the league, the side has placed their bets on their young Indian contingent consisting of Asish Rai, Sahil Panwar, Akash Mishra, Chinglensana Singh, Dimple Bhagat and Nikhil Prabhu who will be expected to learn quickly on the job under the guidance of new Spanish signing Odei Onaindia.

Their midfield features a similar theme with Joao Victor and Lluis Sastre expected to pull the strings alongside the experienced Adil Khan, Souvik Chakrabarti, Nikhil Poojary and Halicharan Narzary.

Providing them competition will be the likes of Abhishek Haldar, Hitesh Sharma, Mohammed Yasir and Sweden Fernandes, all of whom are under 23. Someone who deserves a special mention is 22-year-old Yasir who was a regular for Hyderabad last term and one of the few shining lights in an otherwise disappointing campaign.

Jamshedpur FC

(Squad Average - 23.74)

(Gk - 22.20, Def - 24.30, Mid - 23.25, Att - 24.86)

Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC has the second youngest average squad this term with quite a few young players coming through. In goal they have a good mix of experience and youth with Pawan Kumar and TP Rehenesh on one side and Niraj Kumar, Raj Mahato and Vishal Yadav on the other.


Their defence, like Hyderabad FC, features quality domestic talents like Laldinliana Renthlei, Narender Gehlot, Subhash Barua and Sandip Mandi to be fielder alongside the experience of new signings Peter Hartley and Stephen Eze, as well as Joyner Lorenco, karan Amin and Ricky Lallawmawma.

In Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Mobashir Rahman and Isaac Vanmalsawma, they have three of the most promising youngsters in the country, who will all have to come good if the Red Miners have to end up in the top half of the table.

They also have the experience of Jackichand Singh alongside foreign recruits Alex Lima and Aitor Monroy, while other notable starlets include Harsha Parui, Gorachand Marndi and Jitendra Singh.

The team’s attack bears a fearsome look, with last year’s golden boot winner Nerijus Valskis joined by David Grande, Nick Fitzgerald and William Lalnunfela. The supporting cast comprises 20-year-olds Aniket Jadhav and Bhupender Singh as well as Sapam Kennedy who is still just 19 and is a product of the famed Tata Football Academy.

Mumbai City FC

(Squad Average - 24.71)

(Gk - 23.75, Def - 24, Mid - 24, Att - 34.50)

The City Football Group co-owned club came into their own this transfer window, making impressive signings left, right and centre. One of the youngest teams in the competition, their striking department is the only area with a bloated age profile since they have only two registered strikers as per the official ISL website in the form of Adam Le Fondre and Bartholomew Ogbeche, both of whom are well over 30.

Adam Le Fondre of Mumbai City and Anirudh Thapa of Chennaiyin in action (Source: MCFC/Twitter)

Otherwise, they have lots of young domestic as well as foreign players to bank on this season. In Amey Ranawade, Valpuia, Mehtab Singh, Mohamad Rakip, Tondonba Singh and Sarthak Golui, they have the third youngest defensive unit in the league after Odisha and Hyderabad to complement the knowhow of Mourtada Fall and Mandar Rao.

It is a similar story in midfield where the team can boast of a number of exciting talents like Raynier Fernandes, Farukh Choudhary, Bidyananda Singh, Vikram Pratap Singh and Asif Khan. However, where they seem to have stolen a march over their opponents is the profile of their foreign midfielders.

In Cy Goddard, Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh and Hernan Santana, they have struck the perfect balance between technical ability and physicality in the middle of the park, making it one of the best midfields in the league. Add to that the goalscoring of Ogbeche and Le Fondre and head coach Sergio Lobera might just have a title winning team going forward in his hands.

NorthEast United FC

(Squad Average - 25.86)

(Gk - 25.25, Def - 26.50, Mid - 24.29, Att - 26.86)

NorthEast is again one of those sides that have a consistent age profile across all departments. 34-year-old Subhasish Roy will probably be the bona fide starter in goal but he is backed up by an 18-year-old in Nikhil Deka and Gurmeet Singh who is 20.

Their defence features experienced professionals like Gurjinder Kumar and Mashoor Shereef who have proven themselves previously in the I-League, as well as mainstays like Ashutosh Mehta and Wayne Vaz, and big money signings Benjamin Lambot and Dylan Fox.


Additionally, the emergence of young guns like Nim Dorjee, Rakesh Pradhan and Provat Lakra will bode well for a Jamshedpur side that finished 8th last season, conceding 35 goals in 18 matches.

Coach Gerard Nus also has a young-ish midfield headed by the talented quartet of Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai, Rochharzela and Pragyan Gogoi. The technicality and substance in midfield will be provided by Federico Gallego and new signing Khassa Camara while 25-year-old roadman Imran Khan will be looking to make a mark in his first ISL season after impressive spells at Gokulam Kerala, Mohun Bagan and Neroca FC.

Further forward, the side will depend heavily on incoming trio Idrissa Sylla, Luis Machado and Kwesi Appiah, as well as experienced domestic attackers like VP Suhair and Lalkhawpuimawia.

Bringing down the average age of the attack and providing it with legs and energy will be 19-year-old Ninthoinganba Meetei. The former Indian Arrows starlet had a formidable debut season last term for NEUFC featuring 11 times and will be looking to stake a claim in the starting eleven this time around as well.

Odisha FC

(Squad Average - 23.61)

(Gk - 23.25, Def - 23.56, Mid - 21.90, Att - 27.40)

Apart from being the youngest team in the competition this season, Odisha FC also possesses the youngest midfield unit and the second youngest defensive unit amongst all teams.


The Stuart Baxter-coached side has one of the youngest foreign defenders in the league in the form of Aussie Jacob Tratt as well as a number of young and talented defenders like Shubham Sarangi, Saurabh Meher, Kamalpreet Singh and Gaurav Bora to offset the experience provided by 34-year-old former Newcastle United centre-back Steven Taylor.

In the middle of the park, they have lots of youngsters like Baoringdao Bodo, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Vinit Rai, Nandakumar Sekar and Samuel Lalmuanpuia who featured in varying capacities last season and are set to jostle for a starting berth alongside South African new boy Cole Alexander.

Furthermore, the inclusion of relatively unknown quantities like Paul Ramfangzauva, Thoiba Singh and Lalhrezuala Sailung, all between 19 and 21 years of age, means that Baxter will have a number of interesting domestic options to pick from to complement his attacking trio of Diego Mauricio, Manuel Onwu and Marcelo Pereira based on form and fitness.

At 27.40 the average age of their attacking unit is much higher than the squad average which is understandable since Odisha are top heavy when it comes to experience.

However, in Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Laishram Singh,Baxter has two other attacking options that are young and raring to go, especially 23-year-old Daniel who featured 16 times in the last campaign without finding the net and would be determined to set the record set this time around.

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