After a horrid inaugural season last time around, Hyderabad FC will be hoping to turn things around for the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL). A bottom-placed finish after entering the league to much fanfare from their new Deccan fans, did not exactly go to plan. Added to the fact that Phil Brown left halfway through the season as Mehrajuddin Wadoo took over as caretaker manager for a game before assistant coach Xavier Gurri Lopez was announced as the interim coach.
The season was to be forgotten and a fresh start was on the card when HFC revealed Albert Roca as the head coach but he too had to leave to take up an offer to work as the fitness coach at FC Barcelona. Manuel Marquez Roca, was finally brought in to take the helm of the team.
The tie-ups, off the field, with German Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund Marbella FC from Spain, seem on paper a good initiative but the on field performances will have to speak for the ‘Nizams’, especially after 10 points from 18 games last season.
As for the team, things, Hyderabad FC will hope, will start falling in place.
The signings of Odei Onaindia in defence, Lluis Sastre in midfield and forwards Aridane Santana and Fran Sandaza will bring the Spanish flavour to the HFC core as well as Manolo’s attacking style of play will mean lots of goals.
The steady hands of Subrata Paul in goal will calm nerves for the Hyderabad FC faithful.
Apart from Halicharan Narzary from Kerala Blasters, there is a dearth of experience in the Hyderabad ranks.
Adil Khan’s injury record will mean Nikhil Poojary will have to step up and having the worst defensive record last season will do no morale-boosting when it comes to Hyderabad FC.
HFC also scored just 21 goals last season with Marcelinho doing the bulk of the scoring. Without him, Hyderabad FC will hope the new signings prove to be better in front of goal.
ISL 2019-20 PERFORMANCE
Last season Hyderabad FC took their first bow in ISL after the franchise was moved from Pune. With just 2 wins from 18 league games last season, Hyderabad FC understandably finished last with just 10 points.
MOST NOTABLE NEW SIGNINGS
Joel Chianese was signed by Hyderabad from A-League club Perth Glory, but his inexperience in Indian football may be a concern.
He has 25 goals from seven seasons in the A-League, but most importantly, the Australian has also played in the AFC Champions League. His goal-scoring will sorely be needed for a goal-hungry Hyderabad FC.
HISTORY IN ISL
Hyderabad FC are playing just their second season in the Indian Super League. They finished last in the league phase of the 2019-20 season, having lost 12 out of the 18 games.
CHANCES/PREDICTION IN ISL 2020-21
Hyderabad FC preparations for the new season were hit when Albert Roca had to bow out of his role for pastures greener and the coach Manuel had his task cut out by the coronavirus pandemic. After a dismal showing last season, Hyderabad FC will hope to not finish as last two years in a row. A realistic target for the Nizams will be finishing in the top half of the table and avoid last place.
Goalkeepers: Subrata Pal, Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Laxmikant Kattimani, Manas Dubey
Defenders: Chinglensana Singh, Mohammad Yasir, Dimple Bhagat, Odei Onaindia, Nikhil Prabhi, Souvik Chakrabarti, Kynsailang Khongsit, Akash Mishra, Sahil Panwar, Ashish Rai
Midfielders: Adil Khan, LLuis Sastre, Sahil Tavora, Laldanmawia Ralte, Hitesh Sharma, Sweden Fernandes, Mark Zothanpuia, Joao Victor
Forwards: Joel Chianese, Aridane Santana, Abhishek Halder, Liston Colaco, Halicharan Narzary, Lalawmpuia, Francisco Sandaza, Rohit Danu, Nikhil Poojari, Ishan Dey
Coach: Manuel Marquez Roca