Hyderabad FC can no longer be considered an underdog as everyone has witnessed their fine performance in the last ISL season and their reserves team’s performance in the Durand Cup. They are undoubtedly going to provide some good competition to the other teams for the playoffs spot this season as well. The Nizams have completed all of their foreign signings, and unlike many other ISL clubs, they have chosen a different path as three out of their four new foreign signings are ISL experienced players.
Hyderabad has the right mix of young Indian players and boasts of an experienced foreign contingent as well. Manolo Marquez will surely have a lot of options in the attack this time around. Let’s have a glance at the foreign recruitment of the Nizams –
Joao Victor (Midfielder, Contract Renewed)
Hyderabad FC signed Joao Victor in the summer transfer window before the 2020-21 Indian Super League season. The Brazilian has renewed his contract with HFC and he will stay with the club till the summer of 2023. Joao Victor is a defensive midfielder who can also play as a center back.
As Hyderabad likes playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation where the players generally play the ball from the back, Joao was like the backbone of the team last season with his transition plays from the defense to the attack. With the Nizams having limited options at the center back position, the fan-favorite Joao Victor will be of massive use at the back if either of Chinglensana or Juanan gets injured.
Joel Chianese (Midfielder, Contract Renewed)
The Nizams also signed Joel Chianese before the ISL 2020-21 season, and the Australian has penned down a one-year contract extension a few months back. Joel Chianese, who is a right-winger, can also play as a second attacker and a CAM. He scored three goals and provided an assist in the 12 games he played for the Nizams last year.
Joel’s dribbling skills and versatility in the midfield and forward positions will be very helpful for Hyderabad. Manolo Marquez also preferred a 4-4-2 formation sometime last season and we witnessed Joel becoming a striker alongside Aridane Santana or Fran Sandaza sometimes.
Juanan Gonzalez (Defender, Signed from Bengaluru FC)
Hyderabad FC generally is a very well defensively organized team. When the opponent has the ball and pushes to Hyderabad’s half, all the players, including the striker, fall back and presses intensively by putting a lot of pressure on the opponents. This type of play also requires a ball playing centre back who can win aerial duels, clear the balls and tackle the opponents without attracting any cards.
This is why Hyderabad FC have signed Juanan Gonzalez on a one year deal after bidding farewell to Odei Onaindia. Juanan’s five years of ISL experience donning the Bengaluru FC jersey will help Hyderabad’s backline in a very effective way. Juanan had 46 clearances, 25 blocks, 14 interceptions with 16 tackles and 81.1% passing accuracy in the 14 games he played last season, and this indeed speaks enough about the player’s ability and why the HFC management have roped him from Bengaluru FC.
Edu Garcia (Midfielder, Signed from ATK Mohun Bagan)
Edu Garcia is a midfielder with three years of experience in the Indian Super League. Garcia is a set-piece specialist and also someone who can make unexpected runs into the final third and is a pinpoint crosser. A player like Garcia will be highly beneficial for Manolo and his team. In his first season with ATK back in 2019, Garcia was more of a super-sub rather than a full-time player. The following season, he missed nine games due to injury, but his contribution in the games he played for ATK Mohun Bagan was immense.
With the Nizams playing possession-based football, they need to have plenty of options and creative midfielders, and this is where Edu Garcia comes in handy. Hyderabad has several options in the midfield now with Joel Chianese, Mohammad Yasir, Halicharan Narzary, Aniket Jadhav, Rohit Danu, and others. With the inclusion of Edu Garcia, their midfield and attack has just gotten more powerful.
Bartholomew Ogbeche (Striker, Signed from Mumbai City FC)
Bartholomew Ogbeche, also known as “Big Bart”, needs no introduction; he has donned three different jerseys in his three-year tenure in the Indian Super League, and Hyderabad FC is going to be his fourth ISL club in as many years. The Nigerian has been signed as a replacement for Hyderabad FC’s top scorer from last season Aridane Santana.
Ogbeche is a player who penetrates the opponent’s defense and always tries to make himself available by smart positioning apart from being an accurate goal scorer. Ogbeche has 35 goals and six assists to his name in the 57 ISL games he has played with three different clubs. The 36-year-old is once again expected to leave a mark for the club he plays, this time for the Nizams.
Javier Siverio (Striker, Signed from Las Palmas B)
Hyderabad FC had stunned everyone when they announced the signing of a 23-year-old Spanish striker. It is not very usual to see a young foreigner coming to India, but the Nizams managed to easily pull off the signing. Javi Siverio, notably, trained under HFC’s coach Manolo Marquez in 2016-17.
Javi started his career playing for the Laguna U-19 team, before moving to the Las Palmas U-19 team in 2015. After earning a promotion to the Las Palmas C team, he signed for Racing Santander B in 2018. Siverio was also promoted to Racing Santander first team, who later earned a promotion to the Segunda Division. Later, he signed for Las Palmas B on a free transfer before moving to India for his first foreign league experience.
A look at the foreign contingent of the Nizams will say that there is no doubt that they are aiming high this season. The fans will be especially looking forward to watching the 23-year-old Javi Siverio scoring goals donning the Yellow and Black jersey. Hyderabad has a great squad depth with many alternatives in the midfield and attack; they can go with a 4-4-2 formation with Ogbeche and Siverio up in the front, or Chianese and a striker. If it is a 4-2-3-1 formation, they still have two options each for the striker and CAM positions. It will also be very interesting to see how Manolo Marquez will be using Edu Garcia and Joel Chianese.
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