I-League Report Card: Dempo SC

After a faltering start, the Goan giants recovered in the second half of the season. Goal's Atanu Mitra analyses and gives his verdict...
 Atanu Mitra
 COMMENT | I-League
Follow on

Goal in its end of season special analyses the performance of all the teams in India's top flight and in this piece, we focus on Dempo Sports Club.

Dempo Sports Club

Expectation: The three time I-League champions managed a mid-table finish in the previous season of the I-League. Several off field issues plagued the side and Armando Colaco's contract wasn't renewed. The Goan club appointed Australian coach Arthur Papas in his place after he impressed in his stint with Pailan Arrows.

Papas called the shots with regards to signing of the players. He roped in several players from his previous side when the opportunity was presented. Beto returned to his old stomping ground and several new foreign players were roped in such as Shinnosuke Honda, Simon Colosimo and Billy Mehmet.

Result : A defeat in their first home game to Shillong Lajong set the ball rolling and their form never really improved in the first half of the campaign. Arthur Papas was in Australia due to personal reasons while the likes of Honda and Mehmet proved to be disastrous signings. Colosimo's form too wasn't the best in the earlier part of the campaign.

However, things took a turn for good in the winter break with Haroon Amiri and Tolgay Ozbey were signed. Ozbey scored 8 goals in his 11 I-League appearances for the side, while Amiri also was consistent at the back. Youngsters like Narayan Das and Pranoy Halder continued their growth from Pailan Arrows. The late resurgence meant that Dempo finished a commendable fourth in the league and a bright future beckons the young side.

The Coach : Papas was handed the responsibility to ensure that the team transitions into a new era smoothly. However the journey wasn't all good as the Australian had to head back down under due to personal issues and the team faltered in his absence.

However, things changed after the signing of Ozbey and Amiri. Papas gave the youngsters ample game-time while Ozbey regained his fine goal-scoring form.

Where it went wrong
: Amongst the top six sides, Dempo have scored the least number of goals (31). In fact in their first 14 matches, they could only muster 11 goals. While Billy Mehmet flopped for the side, the likes of Jeje Lalpekhlua, Alywn George and Holicharan Narzary didn't score enough goals. Dempo need their Indian strikers to fire as they depend too much on Ozbey's brilliance upfront.

Top 3 Performances

1. Dempo 4-0 Sporting Clube de Goa

2. East Bengal 1-3 Dempo SC

3. Pune FC 0-3 Dempo SC

Top Player of the Season
Narayan Das

Narayan proved his mettle

After making 21 starts for Pailan Arrows in the last season, Narayan Das became Dempo's first choice left back. The youngster managed 17 appearances for the Golden Eagles and improved with every game. His performances caught the eye of Wim Koevermans which saw him debut for the Blue Tigers against Nepal.

Flop Player of the Season
Billy Mehmet

Billy made the start tough for Papas

The former Perth Glory striker joined the Dempo roster last summer and was expected to spearhead their attack. However, the Irish forward struggled throughout before he was shown the door. He went on to join Malaysian side Kedah FA after scoring only 1 goal in his 8 I-League appearances.

Dempo now have the cream of the Indian talent."
- Arthur Papas