Manolo Marquez's men are raring to hit the ground running in Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23, as they hope to repeat their heroics from last season. With minimal activity in the transfer market, the Nizams have just about the same squad that proceeded to clinch their maiden ISL Championship title last time around.
Last season performance (2nd)
The south Indian club finished at the highest ever position in their ISL history when they secured the second spot, five points behind Shield winners Jamshedpur FC. Hyderabad FC (HFC) was the most prolific in front of goal having found the target 43 times during the course of the league, heavily backed by their Nigerian firebolt Bartholomew Ogbeche. Of their 20 matches in the league phase, HFC managed to win 11 times, drew 5 and lost on 4 outings.
The Nizams conceivably displayed outright football under Marquez, as each player on the pitch had a vivid vision about their role in the team. HFC edged out the Blasters in last year's final to secure their first ever title.
About the manager
It was indeed a blessing in disguise for the fans of HFC when Spanish manager Manolo Marquez arrived to the club as an immediate replacement to Albert Roca prior to ISL 2020-21. The former professional defender from Barcelona has lifted the club from the depths of hopelessness after a horrendous season under Phil Brown where they languished at the bottom of the table.
The introduction of Marquez saw the club finishing the league at fifth and second position on the table in ISL 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively. The manager is known for possession-based football. Marquez likes his team to play out from the back and primarily attack through the flanks. With the graph heading skywards for the club ever since Marquez stepped in, the fans trust on the abilities of the head coach ahead of a brand-new season.
Incoming: Aman Kumar Sahini (Free), Odei Onaindia (Free), Alex Saji (Free), Borja Herrera (Free), Reagan Singh (Loan), Soyal Joshy (Free)
Outgoing: Juanan, Amritpal Singh, Pritam Singh, Souvik Chakrabarti, Khassa Camara, Edu Garcia, Aniket Jadhav, Seityasen Singh
- Retaining core players: After a successful ISL season in 2021-22, there does not arise a need for a robust toil in the transfer market for the club. It is rather logical to utilize their proven resources for yet another season and that is exactly what the management has perpetrated. The likes of Ogbeche, Joao Victor, Chianese and Siverio still being part of the club can prove to be vital.
- Bolstering prowess in defence: With the return of Spanish professional Odei Onaindia after a year-gap and arrival of proven defenders like Reagan Singh and Alex Saji to the side, their back line looks strapping than ever before.
- Lack of a proper CAM: With the departure of midfielder Edu Garcia, the side falls short of a genuine attacking midfielder.
- Absence of an alternate plan: During the Durand Cup, it was evident that Manolo Marquez has not devised any considerable changes to their attacking style from last season, with much of the forward movements occurring from flanks and crosses aimed at talisman Ogbeche. The second semi-final match saw Bengaluru FC effectively muting the threat of the men in yellow through the flanks and Manolo Marquez failing to rise up with an alternate game plan.
(Subject to change)
Goalkeepers: Laxmikant Kattimani, Gurmeet Singh, Aman Kumar Sahni
Defenders: Chinglensana Konsham, Odei Onaindia, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Akash Mishra, Manoj Mohammed, Soyal Joshy, Alex Saji, Reagan Singh
Midfielders: Joao Victor, Mohammed Yasir, Sweden Fernandes, Sahil Tavora, Lalchungnunga Chhangte, Hitesh Sharma, Halicharan Narzary, Borja Herrera, Nikhil Poojary, Abdul Rabeeh, Mark Zothanpuia.
Forwards: Joel Chianese, Aaren D'Silva, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Rohit Danu, Javier Siverio