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ISL: Analysing NorthEast United FC's Indian contingent ahead of ISL 2021-22

The Highlanders performed pretty well in the latter half of the tournament last season and qualified for the playoffs. This time they will perhaps be eager for something more. Here is an analysis of their Indian contingent and their strengths and weaknesses,

ISL: Analysing NorthEast United FCs Indian contingent ahead of ISL 2021-22

Laldanmawia Ralte, V.P. Suhair and Rochharzela.


Sattyik Sarkar

Updated: 21 Oct 2021 12:43 PM GMT

NorthEast United FC's performance in the seventh edition of the Indian Super League was unexpected to many teams. The Highlanders came out of nowhere and sealed their place into the playoffs under the guidance of Khalid Jamil. This season, Jamil has been announced as their head coach, and the management too, have made a few operations in the transfer market with one aim; silverware. As the league is about to commence the next month let's discuss about their Indian contingent.


The first strength to be mentioned about the Highlanders should be confidence. The team were unbeaten for eleven matches last season (until they lost in the second leg of the playoffs) where they were the cause of upset for teams like ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC. Unfortunately, their loss in the second leg of the playoff resulted in their departure from the league but this boost in their morale will surely give them enough confidence to fight their way this time around. Secondly, their squad has almost remained the same without many changes except a few departures and arrivals. The arrival of players like William Lalnunfela from Jamshedpur FC and Laldanmawia Ralte from Hyderabad FC will provide enough zeal in the forward line. Defensively, it is expected that Mashoor Shareef who played quite a number of matches last season will be a regular this time alongside Hernan Santana. Lastly, the presence of a stalwart like Subhasish Roy Chowdhury under the sticks, who has been in the scene for a long time now will add command to the team. The experienced campaigner appeared 15 times last season and will be captaining the side this time around.


The departure of young Lalengmawia Ralte Apuia will be a cause of worry for Khalid Jamil. It's true that they have signed Sehnaj Singh from SC East Bengal, but it would be difficult for Sehnaj to bolster the squad with respect to his performance last season. Apart from this, they will perhaps be aiming for conceding less goals this time around. Among the best teams last season, they were the only team with the least goal difference (6).


The 3 key Indians to look forward to will be Laldanmawia Ralte, Md. Irshad and V.P. Suhair. For Laldanmawia Ralte, it will be a comeback season. The midfielder hardly got any opportunity to display his talent in the last two seasons and will be charged up to prove himself this time around. The second name on the list will be of Mohammed Irshad, who played fantastic football last season at SC East Bengal but unfortunately got benched mid-way through the season and was released after that. The man who previously plied his trade in the Southern and Eastern part of India will be now aiming to bolster the North-Eastern region. He is a utility footballer and possesses the calibre required. Surely, he'll be an efficient signing this season for the Highlanders. Lastly, V.P. Suhair. Few in the Indian football vertical have seen how dangerous a forward he was in the past. An injury a few seasons ago got the player aback but the way in which he performed last season was appreciable. He scored just 3 goals but his performance on the pitch may have surprised a few pundits too. He'll be expected to carry on what he was doing last season or even perform in a much better way so that the team benefits from it.

Mohammed Irshad, V.P. Suhair and Laldanmawia Ralte.


NorthEast United FC have very few youngsters this time around but they surely possess a lot of quality which is required in such a high-profile league. The first name would be of Rochharzela. The 23-year-old midfielder appeared 12 times last season for the Highlanders and went on to score once and assisted twice. He is a very promising lad and is surely a youngster to keep an eye on this season. The second name in the list is of Pragyan Sundar Gogoi. Yes, he didn't receive enough game-time last season but the 22-year-old who captained the Kerala Blasters Reserve team when they won the Kerala Premier League for the first time, is surely a man with enough potential. Hopefully this time around he'll get more opportunity and will prove himself. Lastly, Joe Zoherliana. He may lack experience, but will turn out to be an important member of the Highlanders squad. As it is the team lacks a proper right-back, Zoherliana, a lad who made his debut against SC East Bengal in 2018 (I-League) will be expected to fill in the boots and give his best on the pitch.

Joe Zoherliana, Rochharzela and Pragyan Sundar Gogoi

Who do you think will be the best Indian footballer for NorthEast United FC this season?

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