The John Abraham owned Indian Super League franchisee NorthEast United FC might be the first club to have been named after an entire region and not just a city. Hailing from the most unexplored part of the land with it’s home stadium in the city of Guwahati, the club comprises of a vast array of homegrown talent in the beautiful game. After finishing in the top 4 for two consecutive seasons, 2017-18 was a disaster for the club. A rock-bottom finish in the ISL Points table wasn’t one the management and the fans had expected. Terrible performances, one after the other had led to the downfall.
Portuguese coach Joao de Deus was sacked and replaced by ex-Chelsea gaffer Avram Grant. The Israeli has been replaced by Dutchman Eelco Schattorie for the ISL 2018 season. The former East Bengal coach is experienced in the Indian turf, and might just be the right person to lead them to the past glory days.
The NorthEast United FC has made seven foreign summer signings ahead of this season to bolster their squad.
- Mato Grgic (Croatia – 30 years – Central Defender) – Having played in Croatian first tier football clubs, Inter Zapresic and MTK Budapest, Mato will bring in loads of big match experience and solidify an otherwise weak defense.
- Bartholomew Ogbeche (Nigeria – 33 Years – Centre Forward) – Since starting his career at Paris St. Germain, Bartholomew has become more of a journeyman, plying his trade in clubs like Alaves, Valladolid and Middlesbrough. He has been a sort of late-bloomer, hitting double figures in goals whilst at Camburr and Willem II in the Dutch Eredivisie. NUFC will benefit from the Nigerian centre forward still in form.
- Juan Cruz Mascia (Uruguay – 24 years – Centre Forward) – In Juan, NUFC has struck gold. Fresh out of Uruguayan First Division with Plaza Colonia, where he had maintained a 0.5 goal/game ratio, the lanky striker might turn out to be one of the best in the competition. His youth, speed and natural Latin American flair is all set to light ISL 2018 alight.
- Mislav Komorski (Croatia – 26 – Central Defender) – The Croatian defender is a product of the youth system of UCL regulars Dinamo Zagreb. Born in the capital city itself, Mislav is a tall robust player, known for his aerial prowess. The left-footed defender pairing with the experienced Mato at the back is sure to be a nightmare for the strikers in the league.
- Federico Gallego (Uruguay – 28 – Attacking Midfielder) – The winner of the Uruguayan Segunda is quite experienced in taking down opposition defences in the lower reaches of his home league. Whether he will have the capacity to completely adapt himself to an entirely different culture needs to be seen.
- Jose Leudo (Columbia – 24 – Central Midfielder) – The ex-Atletico Huila midfielder hadn’t exactly set the world alight in the Columbian First Division, but NUFC might hope that the midfielder has what it takes to control the game in a fairly young competition.
- Augustine Okrah (Ghana – 25 – Attacking Midfielder/Winger) – His stop-start career hasn’t helped him cement a place anywhere he had been playing so far. Although he had scored 5 in 4 games for the National U20 side, his club career hasn’t been remarkable. Once again NUFC will be hoping for him to fire on all cylinders against relatively easier opposition.