The 2020-21 Indian Super League is in full swing and the big shots, mostly foreigners, have taken the tournament by storm. Fortunately, for Indian fans like us, there are quite a few domestic talents that have surprised us all and played on an equal footing with the overseas players.
Liston Colaco (Hyderabad FC)
Arguably, one of the top contenders for the most ‘effective’ player of the season, even though we should not draw conclusions so early in the tournament. With two goals and an equal number of assists to his name in nine matches, Liston Colaco is the next big thing in Indian football. The game against SC East Bengal brought the best out of him, as he outfoxed foreign defenders to launch an inch-perfect through ball, only to see his compatriot nudge the ball into the net. If not for his two sensational late strikes during their clash with Northeast United FC coming as a substitute, the side would have slipped in the points table. His lightning-fast runs down the wings has been nightmarish for other sides, making him a potent weapon in Hyderabad FC’s arsenal. It goes without saying that he possesses enviable statistics till now - having taken 19 shots at the goal and hurled in 8 crosses with perfection.
Bipin Singh (Mumbai City FC)
The star-studded foreign contingent of the Mumbai City FC squad hardly gives us time to pay attention to domestic stars, but Bipin Singh has left us no option but to admire him against all odds. It would be unfair to justify the brilliance of the footballer just going by his statistics, but the impact he’s had with the flurry of attacks, documents the fact nevertheless. One goal and three assists so far - we are expecting him to inflate the tally by a considerable margin, while 13 shots and 29 crosses prove his everlasting quench for success. In spite of faring reasonably during his first-ever ISL season, with ATK a few years back, he was shipped to Mumbai City FC in 2018. Having made the headlines only midway through the league, it is likely to be the season that shoots him up the football hierarchy in Indian football.
Suresh Wangjam (Bengaluru FC)
A graduate of the AIFF Elite Academy and part of the famed side that featured in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Suresh Wangjam had already sprung into the limelight as a teenager. Consistent performance for the Bengaluru FC reserves side earned him a call-up for the senior and he has not disappointed at all. Not one of the most creative players you’ll come across, but his presence in the midfield hasn’t gone unnoticed. Wangjam has effectively cut down free-flowing football from the other side of the field, averting danger on numerous occasions, as well as keeping the midfield compact. Playing alongside experienced campaigners like Dimas Delgado and Erik Paartalu demands high standards, exactly what the 20-year old has offered in the ongoing season so far. We are not far from the day of seeing Wangjam knock at the door of the Indian national team.
Manvir Singh (ATK-Mohun Bagan)
One of the known faces in the list, Manvir Singh has come a long way since his claim to fame moment during the final of the 2017 Santosh Trophy final. With 14 international caps to his name, scoring three goals in the same, the Punjab-based footballer needed something special to keep establish himself as a regular in the national side. By scoring a goal in the all-important Kolkata Derby has already earned him a hero-like status back in the city, but his consistent services in the final third have prompted Antonio Lopez Habas to give him more playing time, with players like David Williams and Michael Soosairaj missing out on action due to injury. With two goals and one assist, the season has already taken off for the Indian footballer, with the fans expecting more out of him as we take strides towards the business end of the tournament.
Saviour Gama (FC Goa)
A prime example of raw Indian talent taking the league by storm. Saviour Gama is a storehouse of energy, having the ability to run up and down the field at will and perform his duties with competence. With 43 tackles, 18 interceptions, 20 clearances and 12 blocks, the left-back has come of age after being overshadowed in the past couple of seasons in the Indian Super League. That he’s provided a couple of assists in the same time frame proves his versatility, while his occasional shots at the goal add a flair in the attacking zone. Bred in the development side of FC Goa a few years back, the footballer has spent a lot of time in the setup. With him winning the trust of the entire management, not only is he going to play an influential role for them in the remainder of the season, but also likely to get his contract extended beyond 31st May 2020.