It has been a while the season ended and we saw some spectacular performances throughout the season, not only from the foreign stars and the experienced Indian players, but also from the rising stars of Indian Football. Among all odds, we were lucky enough to witness some wonderful performances from the youngsters, most of whom were playing in the Hero ISL for the first time ever.
It was always a question whether these young players would make it through to the playing 11, instead of having many big names and foreign signings in their respective squads. But to everyone’s surprise, some of them fought their way into the playing 11, and even made a permanent place in the lineup for themselves, and proved to be a valuable and key member of the Team.
Here we have the Top 5 of such young players who won our hearts with their stellar performances throughout the season:
- JEAKSON SINGH THOUNAOJAM (KERALA BLASTERS FC)
Born on 21 June 2001, 18 year old Jeakson Singh from Manipur, is the first ever Indian Goal scorer in the Fifa World Cup, with his headed goal against Colombia in the 2017 Fifa U-17 World Cup. Coming from the Minerva Punjab Academy, the youngster then played for the Indian Arrows side in I-League for 2 seasons on loan from the ISL side Kerala Blasters, before finally joining the Kerala based side. Jeakson Singh featured in 13 games this season in the Hero ISL for Kerala Blasters. The Midfielder from Manipur had been a massive strength to the Kerala Blasters midfield, and has shown his worth inspite of this, being his debut season in the Indian Super League. Though Kerala Blasters had a poor season, but playing in Defensive Midfield, Jeakson Singh left no opportunities wasted to win our hearts with his stellar performances and can be surely said to be one of the bright emerging youngsters of the season.
2. SURESH SINGH WANGJAM (BENGALURU FC)
Born on 7th August 2000, 19 year old Suresh Wangjam was a crucial part of the Indian U17 side in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Hailing from AIFF Elite Academy, Suresh was the ‘partner in crime’ of Amarjit Kiyam the captain of India in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, both in International colours and his club Indian Arrows in the Hero I-League, where hi played for 2 complete seasons, before joining ISL Giants, Bengaluru FC. With likes of Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Erik Partaalu and other big guns, Suresh didn’t seem to be a part of the plans for BFC at the beginning of the season, until he fought hard to feature into the team and capitalized on the little opportunities he got as a substitute, and finally made his place into the starting 11 in the ending stages of the league. With every performance of his we all wished we could see a little more of him as his hard work, deidication, and efforts on the field were overwhelming to watch for us. He played as a defensive midfielder as well as an unnatrual right back position, and even as a winger at times of need, but surprisingly he was a standout performer everywhere on the pitch. The best part abour Suresh Wangjam, was the composure that he showed on the pitch at this young age, and can no doubt be said one of the emerging stars of the season.
3. SUMIT RATHI (ATK FC)
Born on 26th August 2001, 18 year old Sumit Rathi started his career from the AIFF Elite Academy. He was then called up to join the Indian Arrows side for the 2017-18 season, but unfortunately didn’t feature in any of the games. Later in 2018 he was picked up by I-League 2nd division side, ATK ‘B’ where he featured in 10 games, and had a good season with his team. We all know hard work never goes in vain, and so was it for young Sumit. He was soon called up for the India U-20 squad, and at the starting of this season in 2019, he was called up to play for his club’s main team, that is ATK FC, in the Hero Indian Super League by manager, Antonio Lopez Habas. Things changed and he started to become an important part of the squad. He performed well in every match, and got to play 14 matches for the Champions of this season, ATK FC. Playing as side back and center back, Sumit was not only impressive but also consistent. As we say in football, ‘consistency is the key’ and it proved to be right once again, as with repeated wonderful performances Sumit Rathi won the Hero ISL with his team ATK FC and also turned out to be the Emerging Player of The Season. We surely wouldn’t have liked to exclude the emerging player of the season from the list of Top 5 emerging players, after such a wonderful season he had, and hence Sumit Rathi is surely one of the 5 players we were talking about.
4. SUBHAM SARANGI (ODISHA FC)
Born on 24th June 2000, 19 year old Subham Sarangi was a part of the Indian Squad for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Subham started his career early and played for the U-14 Indian National Team in 2013, representing India in the U-14 AFC qualifying tournament. He then joined the Minerva Punjab Academy, and played the U-15 I-League and then the U-18 I-League for his team. After the U-17 World Cup was over, seeing his potential, Subham was signed by ISL side Delhi Dynamos where he played from 2017 to 2019 and featured in 9 games over the 2 seasons. In this 2019-20 season, Subham moved on to play in ISL, but this time for the new Odisha based club Odisha FC, which came into the league after the shut down of Delhi Dynamos FC. But that didn’t stop Subham from progressing. He played at the right back position for Odisha FC, and featured in 14 games this season and was a cruicial part of the Odisha squad. He was solid in defense as well as being very positive and confident in his approach toward the game. His performances were eye catching, and if he continues to perform this way, he can be considered to be one of the top contenders for the right back spot for the National Team, in near future along with big guns like Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal, or Seriton, Rahul Bheke and others. Overall it has been a wonderful season for Subham Sarangi, and clean and clear like his tackles, he can be surely counted on, among the Top 5 Emerging players of the season.
5. LALENGMAWIA (NORTH EAST UNITED FC)
Born on 17th October 2000, 19 year old Lalengmawia from Mizoram, was also a part of the Indian Squad for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup and is surely one of the finest youngsters if ISL 6. Lalengmawia started playing football at a very early age of 6, and represented his school team in the Subroto Cup. Lalengmawia also known as Apuia was brought up into the big scene by the AIFF Elite Academy. After the U17 World Cup, Apuia played for the Indian Arrows in the Hero I-League from 2017-2019, where he played 9 games and scored 1 goal over the 2 seasons. In 2019, before the season began, he was signed by ISL side North East United FC. Lalengmawia was not in the starting lineup intitially, but seing his performances in training was soon given a place in the starting 11 by the head coach, and he surely didn’t disappoint. Playing in Central midfield, wearing jersey number 45, Apuia soon became one of the favorites of the fans. With his wonderful passing ability, composure, strength, presence of mind, and creativity, he not only won the hearts of many fans all over India, but was also one of the contenders for the Emerging player of the season according to many. Lalengmawia featured in a total of 10 games this season and overall, had a memorable debut season for his club North East United. After such exciting performances, and excellent abilities shown, Lalengmawia can be said to be one of the finds of the Hero Indian Super League season 6 and thus is surely among the top 5 Emerging players of the season.
That’s all for the Top 5 Emerging players of the season and hope for more and more wonderful performances from these players, and wishing that they reach much bigger heights and bring more and more glory to Indian Football, and also hoping for more young players to come up and acheive great heights in thier career.