The Indian Super League is a huge platform for the Indian players to showcase their talent in front of world-renowned players and coaches. It can be gladly said that the Indian Super League has been able to bring out the best from the Indian footballers as they have been performing head-to-head with the overseas players in the entire tournament.
It's time to take a look back and see the five best Indian players in the ISL edition of 2015:
1) Jeje Lalpekhlua: The 24-year-old dimunitive striker from Manipur has been awarded the the best Indian emerging player of the tournament. Jeje has been playing the second striker with Golden Boot winner Stiven Mendoza for Chennaiyin FC and helped his team to win the trophy. His scored six goals in the competition and already made quite a name for himself. Swift movement inside the opposition box, predator instincts and clinical finishes with his head and leg are the qualities which makes the young striker so lethal and a future asset for the Indian football team.
2) Amrinder Singh: Another revelation of the tournament has been this 23-year-old Atletico de Kolkata goalkeeper from Punjab. With 40 saves beside his name, he came second only to Edel Bete in the Golden Gloves race. With a tall frame of 6'2" , Amrinder has been a dominating presence between the bars for ATK and it has not been easy for the rival strikers to score past him. Quick reflexes, physical agility and timed precision has been his trademark qualities for which ATK coach Antonio Lopez Habas has shown immense faith on Amrinder. But he has to improve a lot if he wants to become India's number one goalkeeper ahead of Subrata Pal and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
3) Arata Izumi: Arata Izumi played a very crucial role for ATK in the midfield zone. Bought for Rs 68 lakhs in the first ever ISL auction, Arata made sure that every penny spent on him was justified. Initially he earned the the tag of a 'super-sub' as he scored two important late goals in an away match against Kerala Blasters but later became a regular name in the final XI for ATK. He uffered a bit with injuries during the mid phase of the league, but whenever he took the field he always came up with impressive performances for ATK and became a fan favourite. He is 33 now, and its quite unlikely that he will get a chance to play for India again, nonetheless he showed in the ISL that he still has the fire inside him.
4) Sunil Chhetri: Although his team Mumbai City Fc tanked in the ISL, Chetri remained the standout performer from his team. With his tally of seven goals, he is the highest Indian goal scorer and proved once again why he is currently the best striker in the country. He scored a hattrick against North East United and in all the Mumbai City FC matches, Chetri has been a constant trouble for the rival defenders. He did not get enough support from his fellow strikers, which was a big reason for his team's dismal performance in the league,but Chetri alone was in a class of his own.
5) Anas Methodika: Delhi Dynamos did not concede too many goals in the tournament as they had a rock solid defence consisting of John Arne Riise and Anas Methodika. The latter to be one of the finest Indian defenders as the contest progressed and is one of the best central defenders in India. Anas is a no-nonsense defender and will be the first choice now beside Arnab Mondal in the Indian team. So was his aura, that even some of the overseas players trying to avoid his rough tackles ! Its a rare scene actually in Indian football and it was really good to see an Indian defender scaring off overseas players.
By Dipayan Saha