Indian national team’s talismanic striker has been anything but that for the Mariners this season, as either he has been out injured or has plainly not been in form.
Chhetri could infact sometimes be blamed for looking uninterested in what was happening around him on the football pitch, and his form only improved slightly towards the end of the season when he was moved to a deeper attacking midfielder position.
And even then, for someone paid as big bucks as the Indian striker is, his performances were unsatisfactory. Add the controversy of 'not informing' the club management of his trip to UAE and it just makes him not worth anyone's while.
SIMON STOREY AND OTHER FLOP MARINERS
Well the list could end up including Mohun Bagan players exclusively! So instead we decided to name and shame them at one go.
Simon Storey was another of the flops signed this summer, and didn’t manage to impress fans and pundits alike with his performances, leading to him being replaced by Daniell Zeleny, who started with a fantastic display against East Bengal, suggesting the Mariners officials had learnt their lesson from Storey, but faded out quickly after that, eventually leaving the team before the season ended.
Joseph Murali, Bungo Singh, N.Mohanraj, Daljit Singh, Jagtar Singh were amongst the other flops who donned the famous Maroon and Green colours this season.
Joining Chhetri is his former Indian team colleague - Pradeep, who too joined the Mariners amidst much fanfare last summer.
Expected to add some dynamism to the midfield, Pradeep looked woefully out of sorts in the Federation Cup and was largely confined to the bench during the I-League this season.
Even when he played, he looked slow and clumsy in possession and games largely passed him by. He is a shadow of the player he once was.
|XAVIER VIJAY KUMAR|
The former HAL veteran joined Churchill Brothers in the summer after more than a decade with the Bangalore based club, hoping for some glorious moments towards the end of his career.
However it was a disappointing move for both player and club, as Xavier hardly ever played, seemingly never enjoying the confidence of Manuel Gomes or Subash Bhowmick.
In his absence, his beloved HAL Bangalore sank without trace this season.
How could East Bengal ever be any further behind their close rivals in any list? The Scottish attacker joined the Kolkatan outfit amidst much hype and showed some silky touches, but eventually failed to produce when it mattered the most.
Eventually injuries meant he never got the chance to redeem himself either and he was released by East Bengal mid-way through the season.
The Australian was added to Churchill’s roster this summer, and it was hoped he would provide solidity alongside Gouramangi Moirangthem in defense.
However Kovacic failed to live up to the hype and was largely a flop in defense as except his aerial prowess, he didn’t have much to offer to the side.
Lacking pace and positional sense, he wasn’t helped by the fact that Gouramangi himself was totally off-colour this season, often being replaced by Naveen Kumar in defense.
Salgaocar have the tightest defense in the league. How then did they not come anywhere close to defending their crown this year?
The answer is quite simply Chidi Edeh. Bought in to fill the shoes of Yusif Yakubu, the 24 year old has failed dismally in that task, something which Goal.com had pointed at the start of the season, scoring a paltry 6 goals.
Not only did he not get the goals, his general movement in attack and hold-up play was also very poor, and ultimately cost Salgaocar several points this season.
Shillong Lajong have struggled for goals all season, and you don’t have to look any further than their Nigerian striker Christopher, to know why.
The lanky striker joined Pradhyum Reddy’s men with a reputation of being a good goalscorer in the Calcutta Football League, but he failed to live up to expectations at Lajong, though it would be fair to say, he wasn’t the only one.
Christopher’s profligacy in front of goal and poor touch as well as movement eventually saw him sidelined, as Reddy bought in two new strikers, Matthew Mayora and Sushil Singh, mid-way through the season. However they didn’t fare much better either.
WADOO AND OTHER FLOP SALGAOCAR PLAYERS
When the 28 year old joined Salgaocar, many thought of it as a shrewd purchase by Karim Bencherifa’s side, as the Indian international was expected to bring quality in the side’s defense as well as midfield.
But by the time the season has ended, you could count Wadoo’s guest appearances for Salgaocar this season with just one hand!
One wonders why he was even signed, if all he was supposed to do was warm the bench. Ishfaq Ahmed was brought in to add experience on the wings, something which never materialised with several poor displays in the I-League. The controversial moves for Rahul Kumar and Balwant Singh wasn't worth all the sweat after being accused of poaching with them failing to add anything extra to the squad. Salgaocar also have a trait of laying off at least one foreign player midway through the season and Junior Elijah was the casualty this time around. His replacement Maxime Belouet didn't have enough time to make an impact which only highlighted further why they failed to defend their league title - poor transfer strategy next only to Mohun Bagan.
The midfielder’s claim to fame this season was the part he played in Nizam Packeer Ali’s sacking at Chirag United Kerala.
The Kolkatan, who became a much derided figure in Kerala after Packeer Ali’s departure, failed to perform when eventually given the task to run Chirag’s midfield as the club eventually succumbed to relegation.
Ineffective on the pitch and a nuisance off it, it remains to be seen which club takes him on for next season. At your own risk managers!
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