With the I-League season now well and truly behind us, Goal.com’s special series of editorials on Indian football continue.
This time we shall have a look at the more memorable moments of the season and give away a plethora of superficial awards to players and clubs in various categories.
Most Entertaining Team Of The Year – Sporting Clube de Goa
The Flaming Oranje were entertainment guaranteed, everytime time they stepped onto the pitch, you could expect them to be involved in some high scoring and thrilling contests. Scorelines like 4-3, 4-2, 5-0, and more high scoring matches were delivered all through the season, sometimes by them being in sublime form or at other times Ekendra Sen’s men were at the receiving end of it. When you score 53 goals, second only to Dempo by a mere three goals, and concede 44, much more than Pailan Arrows, it's established that one can never get bored in their games.
They ended the season in typical fashion too, destroying HAL Bangalore 7-0!
Most Boring Team Of The Year – Pailan Arrows
Been Watching Pailan Arrows Recently?...
Such was the sleep inducing capabilities of the Arrows, that even at Goal.com a (un)lucky draw used to take place to decide who shall cover their next I-League game! You have to be devoid of all charm to have your name on the roster to see their matches!
Having scored just 17 goals this season, of which 7 came in the last three games, one could have been forgiven for wondering if the youngsters of Pailan Arrows thought they were in a defense versus attack training drill, as they gave an all new meaning to the term “parking the bus.”
Team With The Worst Transfer Dealings – Mohun Bagan
Chhetri Has Failed To Translate His Rich International Form On The Club Scene...
There is no denying the fact that Sunil Chhetri has been a flop at Mohun Bagan. Injuries aside, his form has been pathetic to say the least and probably he would have to wonder what he needs to do to win an I-League title (Dempo SC won the title a couple of seasons back when Chhetri had left the club midway for his American adventure). Signing N.P.Pradeep, Joseph Murali, Simon Storey, Bungo Singh, Mohanraj, Daljit Singh, Jagtar Singh and even Steve Darby for that matter given that he has sent packing after the Federation Cup campaign. The Mariners need to get rid of underperforming players, doesn't matter if they are big names, if they harbour any hopes of winning the domestic league title.
The Most Impatient Club Of The Season -Churchill Brothers
Manuel Gomes Was A Victim Of 'Trigger' Happy Owners...
The Mariners were early favourites for this title too, with their dismissal of Steve Darby even before the season began, but Churchill Brothers go home with the award, thanks to their shambolic treatment of Manuel Gomes, the Portuguese, who was bought to the Goan shores with much fanfare and dumped without much though soon afterwards.
The club seemed well on their way to fight for the title under Gomes, before his position was undermined by the owners, and eventually he got the sack, becoming another one of Churchill’s annual victims!
The Overachievers of the season – Air India
Santosh Kashyap Assembled A Well Drilled Unit At Air India...
The Airmen have flown much higher than really expected of them this season. Largely marked out as one of the teams who could be fighting for relegation this season at the start of the term, Santosh Kashyap’s side have surprised many with their performances this season.
While they eventually ended up ninth on the table, for the majority of the first half of the season, they enjoyed the company of the bigger sides of the league around them before fading towards the latter half.
With a paltry budget, they have shown that a smart tactician at the head of the team, much like Bimal Ghosh earlier, can make a world of a difference in the I-League.
Controversial Team Of The Season – Chirag United Kerala
Packeer Ali Was Sacked Unceremoniously....
The Kerala based side shall be plying their trade in the second division next season, and have no one else to blame for their plight but themselves.
New Owners, Chirag Computers, came in during the summer and promised the world to the fans but failed to deliver. What they did bring was instability, as after bringing in Nizam Packeer Ali, they disposed off his services in the most disgraceful manner, deciding to side with a player, namely Suman Dutta, over the coach, just when the results seemed to be on the up.
New management team just didn’thave enough time to get to grips with the problem and Kerala’s only representative in the league were relegated.
The problems are not over yet, as players haven’t been paid their dues for the season that has just concluded, with Chirag Computers apparently backing out of the club, endangering the team’s future.