Goal I-League 2012-13 Special: Top 3 Midfielders

An exciting I-League season is now over and Goal looks at the best performers in each position during the season. Now it's time for the people who run the show in the middle...

Another season of the I-League is done and dusted with, and Churchill Brothers managed to clinch the title in the penultimate round this season. The Goans won their second I-League football title by playing out a 1-1 draw against Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan.

Although the strikers tend to steal the show especially when we consider the goals, it is the midfielders who have added the necessary spark and creativity in the middle of the park which allowed the forwards to go on and get those goals.

Goal shortlists three of the best on show this campaign who have not only marshalled the midfield with gusto but have also demonstrated their ability to score goals. First we shall look at the three foreign midfield players who impressed us the most.

This is in no particular order and is arranged alphabetically.

 Beto | Churchill Brothers

It is always a bonus when you have your midfielders contributing goals to the side, and Beto has managed to do exactly that this season with efficient ease. In 21 I-League games this season, the 33-year old attacking midfielder has arguably been Churchill Brothers' most consistent player. He has been a key link between the Red Machine's midfield and strikers, and the Brazilian has also managed to notch up 13 goals and 6 assists this season. As the years have gone by, injuries have caught up with him, but the former Dempo player has managed to perform every time he has played to ensure it's impossible to keep him out of the side when fit. The side hasn't won a single I-League game where Beto hasn't featured this season, which proves how key the player has been to the Goan side's charge to the title. 

 Douhou Pierre | Pune FC

When your teammates choose you as the Club's player of the Year, you know you've done something right. The Pune playmaker from Ivory Coast was voted by the Pune FC senior side their Player of the Year. The former Mahindra United player was a constant presence in the Maharashtra side as he played and started 25 of the 26 games this season scoring 5 goals and providing five assist in the process. He carves open opposition defences with his range of passing which is integral to how Pune FC play. The 25-year old will look to continue his good form in the next year as well.

 Katsumi Yusa | ONGC FC

The Japanese midfielder stepped up his performances this season and delivered for the Oilmen bagging six goals from midfield. At times it seemed like the 24-year old was the only creative spark in the middle of the park for Santosh Kashyap's men. The six goals that he scored left him only a goal shy of the club's leading goal scorer Eric Brown this campaign.

Now let us look at the Indian midfield players that impressed us the most in I-League 2012-13. Again, this is in no particular order and is arranged alphabetically.

  Lalkamal Bhowmick | Prayag United

The deep lying playmaker impressed in midfield for Prayag United with his passing ability, something that he had shown in seasons gone by too. He is considered to be one of the best playmakers available in the country as his composure on the ball is next to none. The 26-year old first made news way back in 2005 when he scored a stunning 40-yard strike in the IFA Shield game against German giants Bayern Munich U-23 side. His vision and tendency to pick a pass has been vital for Prayag United and was surprisingly left out of the national side during the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in Myanmar by Wim Koevermans.

 Milan Singh | Pailan Arrows

The penalty specialist for Pailan was impressive as he held the young midfield together. The 21-year old managed to score 5 goals, all of which came from the spot. He enjoys joining the attack and is helped by the fact that he has boundless energy. He keeps the midfield ticking and impresses in the creative as well as the holding role. Under the tutelage of Arthur Papas, Milan has developed into one of the best central midfielders in the country. It will be interesting to see if the player will still be at the club next year as there is an exodus expected from Pailan Arrows this close season.

 Nicholas Rodrigues | Mumbai FC

The Mumbai No.7 impressed for the Maharastra side this season in midfield. The 30-year old who started all but one game for his side stood out in midfield and managed to score one and assist five goals this season. He was the orchestrator of all of Mumbai FC's attacks. Coach Khalid Jamil did well to utilize his crossing and ability from dead ball situations to his team's benefit.

There are two players that just missed the cut from the top 3 midfielders. Those two players were:

 Lenny Rodrigues | Churchill Brothers

Lenny Rodrigues came to the limelight when the Goan side's star midfielder Beto missed out on a few games due to injury. Lenny has shown his ability to keep things ticking over in the midfield and also rough it up a bit with his tackles when required. His work-rate is what helped him gain more appreciation from his team-mates and his coach. The stats may say that the 26-year old provided one assist but they rarely do tell you the whole story.

 Pratesh Shirodkar | Sporting Club de Goa

The 24-year old midfielder was a standout star in the centre of the park for the Flaming Oranje. He would wish to add more goals to his game after managing only one goal this season. One of the key cogs in Oscar Bruzon's side in their fight to stay away from the relegation zone.

Who have been the best midfielders in the I-League this season in your view? Let us know by commenting below...

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