After a seventh place finish in the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League, Delhi Dynamos FC put in an improved performance in the second edition and reached the semifinals where they were ousted by FC Goa. Playing at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in the heart of the capital city of India, the Lions dished out some impressive performances under the tutelage of the Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos. 39 year old Italian legend Gianluca Zambrotta is the man at the helm of affairs this time around and Delhi Dynamos would be hoping to go a step or maybe two ahead under him.
Goalkeepers : Toni Doblas, Soram Anganba, Sanjiban Ghosh
Former Real Betis custodian Toni Doblas has been retained by the Dynamos after he gave a good account of himself in the last edition of the Indian Super League. Doblas brings with him the experience of playing in the La-Liga where he also won the Copa del Rey with Betis. His experience would no doubt do a world of good to the Indian goalkeepers in the team – Soram Anganba & Sanjiban Ghosh. Last season Sanjiban Ghosh was drafted at the last moment after injuries to the first choice goalkeepers and he did an impressive job under the bar. 23 year old Soram Anganba who spent two seasons with Bengaluru FC featured in the I League this season for Aizwal FC and this is his first stint with any Indian Super League side. With most sides employing an Indian goalkeeper to utilize the foreign players in other positions, both Sanjiban and Soram are likely to get their share of games.
Defenders : Anas Edathodika, Lalchhawnkima, Lalruatthara, Chinglensana Singh, David Addy, Rubén Gonzalez
Anas Edathodika was the standout Indian player in the defense last year for the Lions alongside John Arne Riise. Anas had everyone in the media talking during the Indian Super League last year where he featured in most of the matches and also managed to score a goal. The lanky defender though didn’t feature in the I League and will be looking to repeat his last season’ s performane so that he can get back into the national team reckoning. Former Real Madrid defender Rubén Gonzalez who is the second marquee player for the Dynamos is likely to lead the back line for the Lions. The 34 year old was the part of the Los Blancos squad that won the Champions League in 2001-2002 and Spanish La Liga in 2002-2003. Ruben who featured for the Spanish U-21 squad is expected to fill the void left by the departure of Riise.
Ghanaian David Abby who has 21 international caps to his name brings with him the experience of having played in the Europa League. The 26 year old plays mostly as a left back but could be paired up Ruben in the center of the defense. 19 year old Chinglensana Singh who earned a call up to the national team after a successful season with Shillong Lajong FC is another player who could play as a center back. Aizawl FC duo of Lalchhawnkima and Lalruatthara complete the list of defensive players for Delhi Dynamos.
Midfielders : Rupert Nongrum, Souvik Chakraborty, Marcos Tébar, Baye Ibrahima Niasse, Samir Nabi, Denson Devadas, Amoes, Kean Lewis, Florent Malouda, Bruno Pelissari, Memo, Milan Singh
Florent Malouda was the lifeline of Delhi Dynamos last season where dictated play in center of the park. Malouda was employed in a free role behind the strikers and he excelled in that role notching up several assists. The former Chelsea player is likely to be used in the similar position once again by Zambrotta and he has indicated his importance to the Delhi Dynamos side by scoring thee goals in the pre-season matches. Bruno Pelissari , the 23 year old attacking midfielder was signed by the Lions from Chennaiyin FC where he spent two successful seasons. Famous for his free-kicks, Pelissari is an attacking midfielder and will be vital cog in the midfield for the Delhi based side. Another attacking option for Zambrotta will be Samir Nabi, the younger brother of Adil Nabi who featured for Dynamos last season. Nabi has come through the youth setup at West Bromwich Albion and was their top scorer in the U-21 league last season. A product of Real Madrid’s academy Marcos Tébar featured for the Spanish U16 and U17 teams. Defensive midfielders Senegalese Baye Ibrahima Niasse and Brazilian Emerson Gomes de Moura complete the set of foreign midfielders.
The hardworking Souvik Chakraborty who is into his third season with the Dynamos leads the list of Indian midfielders. Souvik, who plays as a defensive midfielder for Mohun Bagan, was employed as a right-back by Roberto Carlos last season and he gave a good account of himself in that position. It though remains to be seen where he is played this season. Souvik’ s Mohun Bagan teammate Kean Lewis was signed by the Delhi based side after an impressive season with the Kolkata giants in the I League and he has been looked impressive in the pre season tour. Famous for his long rangers, Lewis scored a couple of goals in the pre-season games and is likely to be used on the right flank. Signed from FC Goa, Denson Devadas is likely to play the role of a holding midfielder, a role that Sehnaj Singh played quite well last season. 20 year old Rupert Nongrum of Shillong Lajong is a highly rated youngster in the Indian football circuit. Rupert was a part of the India U-19 squad and featured in ten matches for Lajong this season. Former Pailan Arrows and Shillong Lajong player central midfielder Milan Singh is also part of the team and so is Amoes, the 21 year old ex Bengaluru FC and Mumbai FC player who now plies his trade at Ozone FC.
Forwards : Richard Gadze, Badara Badji, Marcelinho, Arjun Tudu
Ghanaian forward Richard Gadze returns to Delhi Dynamos for his second season and will be entrusted with the task of leading the forward line. Gadze became a fan favorite last season with his pacy and hardworking performances that saw him score four goals. 22 year Badara Badji who has been signed from Dinamo Zagreb is likely to accompany Gadze in the attack. Badji has a couple of caps for the Senegalese national team and at 6 feet 4 inches, he will add a different dimension to Dynamos’ s attack. Brazlian striker Marcelinho brings with him the experience of playing inItlay and Greece and also scored in the Swedish Club Skene IF. Arjun Tudu who was in India’ squad for the game against Puerto Rico is the fourth striker in the team and other than Kean Lewis was the only Indian to score on Dynamos’ pre-season tour. Tudu features for Army XI in the domestic competitions and has never played in the I League but after having earned praise from national coach Stephen Constantine he would be looking to play in the Indian Super League and showcase his talent.
Manager : Gianluca Zambrotta
A major reason behind the improved performance of Delhi Dynamos in the second season was the presence of Roberto Carlos and the respect that he commanded from the players. This ensured their was no repeat of season one where coach Harm van Veldhoven and marquee player Alessandro Del Piero were at loggerheads. 39 year Gianluca Zambrotta old a key member of the starting lineup of the Italian squad that won the 2006 FIFA World Cup and he will no doubt command same respect from the players. Delhi Dynamos will be the second coaching assignment for Zambrotta. He served as an assistant and then as the chief coach for Swiss side Chiasso. Dynamos are expected to be well oiled and a disciplined side under Zambrotta who would be keen to win the crown with Dynamos.