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ISL 2018-19: Consistency lacking among Indian players for five seasons running

12:56 PM SGT 12/2/19
Jeje Lalpekhlua Chennaiyin
Domestic players have failed to maintain their consistency over extended periods of time in the league....

The fifth edition of the India Super League (ISL) is now moving towards its business-end with the race for playoff qualification promising to be a tight one.

Started in 2014 as an eight-team league, the ISL promised to take Indian football to the next level with an amalgamation of the country’s top footballers and a slew of international stars.

After almost five seasons of the ISL, the question that needs to be asked is where are the domestic players putting in consistent performances in and out?

There have been plenty of Indian players who have come to the fore in the past five seasons but none of them have been able to maintain that consistency for a sustainable period of time.

Among the names which come to mind when it comes to the more consistent domestic players over the seasons, Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpheklua are the most prominent.

Chhetri is in his fourth season in the ISL and is the top Indian goal-scorer in the league’s history with 28 goals to his name. 21 of those goals have come in Chhetri’s last two seasons with Bengaluru while seven came in first season on loan with Mumbai City in 2014.

The India talisman had a poor 2015 season with Mumbai where he made six appearances but failed to bag a single goal.

Jeje, meanwhile, scored four goals in his first seasons in 2014 before following it up with six in his next. The Mizoram man had a minor dip in the 2016 edition where he could score only three goals before a prolific 2017-18 campaign where his nine goals led Chennaiyin FC’s march to the ISL title.

This season though, the ‘Mizo Sniper’ has had a campaign to forget with his strike against Bengaluru on Saturday breaking his goal-scoring duck.

There have been several Indian players who have played all five seasons of the ISL till date but none of them have been able to establish the sort of consistency the foreign stars like Ian Hume, Miku and Ferran Corominas have achieved.

The likes of Sandesh Jhingan, Narayan Das, Souvik Chakrabarti and Lenny Rodrigues are among the most capped ISL players of all time but none of these names have managed to maintain their consistency over extended periods of time.

Currently, the league is thirsting for an Indian player to become the flagbearer of consistency. The platform is there for the players and it is high time the domestic players made the most of it.