Thoiba Singh Moirangthem ( Odisha FC )
Thoiba Singh is one of the most exciting prospects in Indian football currently. The Manipuri defender could turn out to be a good signing for Odisha FC. He played a crucial part in India’s dream run in the 2018 AFC U16 Championship. Along with Bikash Yumnam, the centre back pair was rock solid in the tournament which helped them to get 3 clean sheets out of 3 in the group stage. India conceded only one goal in the entire tournament, the one in the quarter finals against South Korea which prevented India from qualifying for the U17 World Cup.
Thoiba was signed by Minerva Punjab and when he made his professional debut, he became one of the youngest players to play in the I league at 15 years of age. After a healthy amount of game time, Thoiba made his debut in the AFC Cup in 2019. He made history by becoming the youngest ever goalscorer in the AFC Cup when he scored against Nepal’s Manang Marshyangdi club at just 16. It was a commendable feat for not just the player, but for the club and the entire nation. Thoiba’s game has improved by leaps and bounds and his early exposure to professional football played a huge part in it. He is one of the few Indian youngsters to have had the experience of playing at the continental stage and that makes him standout from the rest. At just 17 years of age, he still has a lot to learn and his first ISL season would be an important learning experience for the youngster.
Givson Singh Moirangthem ( Kerala Blasters FC )
Another star in the making is Kerala Blasters’ Givson Singh. Hailing from Manipur, the attacking midfielder had a great time with the junior national teams. He was one of the best players in the U16 squad which had a memorable year in 2018. He signed for Indian Arrows in 2019 and was a mainstay in the team. A natural playmaker who is equally adept at the wings, Givson has contributed with crucial goals and assists for both club and country. The 18 year old showed his potential in the past few years and is one of the fast rising players in India.
The country has a dearth of natural number 10s with only Sahal Abdul Samad reviving the attacking midfield role in the country. After Clifford Miranda, there hasn’t been anyone else significant to replace his role in the national team. So, it wasn’t a surprise to see Sunil Chhetri getting deeper and playing as a false nine in the national team to make up for the work rate. The arrival of Sahal enabled the national team to try new strategies and formations. His teammate Givson can look up to him and possibly follow suit in filling up his place in the future. With considerable competition for places, Givson will have to fight for getting chances this season in the ISL. But it won’t be a surprise if he manages to grab some attention among the fans this season with his performances.