The Hero I- League 2022-23 season was a breakthrough for Indian football. Generating a slew of incredible talents who gave their all throughout the season. After the first half of the season, the league took a turn as some clubs crumbled while others rose to the situation. However, there were certain exceptional players who remained constant throughout the season regardless of where their club was ranked in the points table.
The rivalry was fierce among the teams in the top half of the league. But numerous surprise stars were giving outstanding performances. Regardless of whether they were from the top or bottom half of the table. These players shown extraordinary talents and abilities on the pitch. Making them viable contenders for the next level of football in their career. As well as players to watch in the future. The league finished exactly as projected before the season. But Indian football will have an excess of outstanding players who can play for the national team in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the best Indian players in the I-League this season.
Best 5 Indian players of Hero I-League 2022-23
5. Huidrom Naocha Singh (Roundglass Punjab FC)
Huidrom Naocha Singh, 23, is a versatile defender who can play on both sides of the defence. He progressed through the NEROCA FC programme before joining TRAU FC for a single season in 2018. He returned to NEROCA to make his I-League debut. During his two seasons with Gokulam Kerala FC, he was recognised and signed by City Group-owned Mumbai City FC in 2021. During that season, he was loaned out to ISL side East Bengal FC. And he is presently a loan player for Roundglass Punjab FC, where he also won the I-League title.
He is a steady defender with exceptional passing range. And strong confidence who forged an impenetrable tandem with Valpuia, making them one of the league’s most solid defensive pairs. This season, he played left-back and put up strong defensive and attacking performances, adding greatly to the team’s victory. As he is now on loan, it is unclear what his future holds, as he will return to Mumbai City FC.
4. Salam Johnson Singh (TRAU FC)
Salam Johnson Singh, a Manipur native, is another promising Indian football talent. He is a 23-year-old centre forward who came up through the SAI academy ranks. Salam later joined East Bengal and Lonestar Kashmir FC, but he burst onto the scene this season with TRAU FC, where he scored 5 goals and assisted on another. He is extremely dangerous in creating goal scoring opportunities from anywhere around the penalty area.
Furthermore, he uses both feet effectively and has an amazing ability to recognise his teammates’ runs. With a 59% success percentage and 53% accuracy in shots in 1v1 scenarios, he is a difficult player to defend against. Despite his lack of physical strength, he engages in duels and challenges without fear.
3. R Lalthanmawia (Aizawl Football Club)
R Lalthanmawia, the 20-year-old midfielder / winger who plays for Aizawl FC, is another fantastic Mizoram prospect who has been a revolution in this season’s I-League campaign. He has been with the squad for two seasons and, when given the chance, he astonished everyone with his amazing performance in midfield this season, recording three goals and five assists.
His ability to build something out of nothing distinguishes and distinguishes him. He quickly established himself in the Aizawl midfield and was a regular starter throughout the season. With 49 bullets fired and a 45% accuracy rate, he is a formidable offensive danger. In addition, he has completed 78 progressive passes with an 80% success rate, demonstrating his versatility as a midfielder.
His propensity to dominate one-on-one scenarios frequently results in opponents fouling him. Given his excellent qualities, he may be a useful addition to any Indian Super League squad and is undoubtedly a player to watch for the future of Indian football.
2. Ramdinthara/Tharpuia R Ramdinthara
R Ramdinthara, better known as “Tharpuia,” is a rising star who impressed during the just finished I-League season. He has already earned a reputation for himself as a right winger despite being only 20 years old, having come through Northeast United FC’s development system in 2018. Despite initially going undetected, Tharpuia’s ability drew the attention of Aizawl FC following a local football event in Mizoram, proving to be a watershed moment in his career. He took advantage of the chance and gained his place in the country’s premier division, demonstrating his exceptional ability.
Despite playing for a squad that ended in the bottom half of the standings, he made an impression in his rookie season in the I-League, scoring four goals and giving five assists. Though he typically plays on the right flank, he is also capable of playing on the left wing and in the centre forward position. He is a difficult player to mark because to his amazing ability to position himself free of opponents.
He has superb close ball control and impressive wing abilities, making him a thrilling player to watch. Tharpuia has established himself as one of the league’s finest players by laying off 20 critical passes and 90 progressive passes with an accuracy percentage of 71%.
1. Samuel Kynshi (Real Kashmir Football Club)
Samuel James Lyngdoh Kynshi, also known as Samuel Kynshi, is a 23-year-old winger/midfielder from Shillong Lajong FC’s academy. He rose from their youth system to their main team due to his outstanding achievements at the time. In the I-League, he has 6 goals and 1 assist to his name. Later, he spent a brief time on loan with Kerala Blasters FC in the I-League Second Division In 2020, he was signed by Real Kashmir FC.
His breakout season was this year’s I-League season, when he became the league’s joint top Indian goal scorer with 6 goals and the league’s second most Indian assist provider, with 5 to his name, for a total of 11 goal contributions. He has exceptional game reading abilities and can unleash beautiful deliveries into the box with precision from both wings. Samuel is a powerful finisher and a gutsy campaigner who will not back down from difficult confrontations and duels. He is also an excellent set piece and corner taker, making him an indispensable member of the squad.
Other mentionable players in I-League
The names mentioned above are simply a small sample of the Indian football stars that have piqued the interest of fans during the I-League season. However, there are a few more names that are equally deserving of mention.
Noufal P N of Gokulam Kerala FC showed brilliantly with 6 assists, establishing himself as the previous champions’ top performer. Rosenberg Gabriel contributed 6 assists to the triumph of his club, Sreenidi Deccan. Tangva Ragui of Neroca FC is a young, rising talent who will inevitably make his way to the top level of football.
Brandon Vanlaremdika contributed two goals and four assists to his team’s championship victory. While Valpuia and Naocha Singh made a dangerous defensive tandem for Roundglass Punjab FC. Rajasthan United FC’s midfield was built on the shoulders of William Pauliankhum and Renthlei. With his accurate and progressive passes, as well as his through balls from the flank. Lalmalsawma, who played every minute of the league, proved to be a critical piece of the jigsaw for Aizawl FC.
Kiran Pandhare, who was playing as a lone warrior in the midfield for Kenkre FC, stood out with his powerful physical presence. While Aman Gaikwad, who had two goals and four assists, was a tremendous asset to the club. Ranjeet Singh Pandare deserves special note for his deft and clinical finishing. As well as his physicality in the box, having scored three goals and supplied three assists. Anil Gaonkar (four goals and two assists). And Lamgoulen Hangshing (a good defensive presence for Churchill Brothers FC) were other standout players this season.
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