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Indian Super League 2017-18: Delhi Dynamos F.C. seek first crown

Delhi Dynamos F.C., bidding to win their first title, go into the 2017-18 season of the Indian Super League (ISL) with a new-look side and an experienced campaigner at the helm.

indian super league 2017 Updated: Nov 15, 2017 17:01 IST
Shayne Dias
Shayne Dias
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Super League,Delhi Dynamos F.C.,ISL
Delhi Dynamos F.C. have a new-look side and will be bidding to win their first crown, having lost in the semi-finals in the last two editions of the Indian Super League.(ISL)

Delhi Dynamos are the only team based out of northern India in the Indian Super League (ISL). Over the first three editions, many talented players from India and abroad have turned out in their white and orange, but success has eluded the side, which has not even reached the finals. (MORE ON FOOTBALL)

Delhi Dynamos’ best performance came in 2016 ISL, when they reached the semi-finals after finishing third in the group stage. Managed by former Juventus and Barcelona defender Gianluca Zambrotta, they lost in the semis to eventual ISL runners-up Kerala Blasters.

Ahead of the player draft this year, Delhi Dynamos sprang a surprise by choosing not to retain a single player. However, the new-look side comprises promising Indian talent as well as a new manager in Miguel Angel Portugal, a Spanish coach best known for his emphasis on developing young players.

Past performances in ISL

2016 – Semi-finals, third in group stage

2015 – Semi-finals, fourth in group stage

2014 – Fifth in group stage

Manager profile

Miguel Angel Portugal, 61, the club’s new manager, has coached Real Madrid’s C and B sides and has been at the helm of many Spanish clubs, including Cordoba, Racing Santander and Real Valladolid. He has also managed clubs in Bolivia (Club Bolivar), Brazil (Clube Atletico Paranaense) and Algeria (Club Sportif Constantinois).

Portugal specialises in developing youth players, which he made very clear during his official unveiling. “I intend using my experience from Real Madrid to teach young Indian players,” he said during his first press conference as manager.

His expertise at developing talent feeds into the long-term strategy of the Dynamos, who are looking to eventually have a number of local Delhi boys representing the club. “We want Delhi fans to cheer for young players from the city instead of foreign stars who come for a year and then leave,” Dynamos CEO Ashish Shah said during Portugal’s unveiling.

It is unclear how Portugal will blood young talent while simultaneously looking to win the club’s maiden title this year. But given how the Dynamos squad looks, it is clear the new manager’s football ideology has the total backing of the owners.

Players to watch out for

Albino Gomes – The 23-year-old goalkeeper has played for Mumbai City FC in the ISL, but his biggest professional success came when he was a part of FC Aizawl that won the I-League in 2017. He’s a talented shot-stopper and his proficiency will come in handy for Delhi Dynamos.

Romeo Fernandes – This pacy winger played the previous three editions of the ISL for FC Goa, albeit on loan from I-League side Dempo. His impressive performances in ISL’s first season earned him a loan move to Clube Atletico Paranaense, where he became the first Indian to play for a South American side at senior level. Delhi Dynamos will look to this 25-year-old to provide them some speed and thrust out wide.

Pritam Kotal – The speedy right-back has played for Mohun Bagan, where he won the I-League in 2015. He also won the ISL with Atletico de Kolkata in 2016 and has been a mainstay for the India national football team for the past two years. Solid in defence and going forward, this versatile defender was the fourth most expensive defender in the player draft this year for a reason.

First Published: Nov 07, 2017 09:10 IST