I-League 2017/18: 5 relatively unknown players who made a mark this season
This I-League season will be remembered for a number of reasons. Mostly for the nail-biting finishes it had in store on the last day of the season with 4 teams fighting for the title, while another battled relegation.
The other thing that will be memorable for fans will be that it is the first time a team from Punjab and North India has won the I league and it is only the second time in the history of the I-League/NFL that a team from Punjab or North India has won the Premier National level league after JCT won the title in the inaugural edition of the NFL.
This I-League season also saw a lot of unknown or rather infamous players take centre stage as the creme of Indian players opted to play for the cash-rich glamorous ISL, a tournament which was running parallel with I League for the first time.
In this article, we take a look at 5 less popular players who outshone seasoned pro’s to come into the spotlight this season.
#5 Kivi Zhimomi (Gokulam Kerala)
The 22- year old Dimapur born forward is one of the two players from Nagaland to feature in the top level leagues of India at present. Kivi is a known figure for those who have been following the game at the domestic level closely. He has played for clubs like Mohammedan Sporting Club, Rangdajied FC and now is playing for Gokulam Kerala.
The Naga lad started his footballing career in the Nagaland Premier League from where he went on to play the Assam Premier League and CFL. A forward by choice, the tall lanky striker can play in the wings and also as a central midfielder. Gokulam basically used him as a second striker or a central midfielder.
He made 11 apps for Gokulam this season and scored 2 goals, the aspect that caught everyone's eyes was his work rate. He ran the length and breadth of the pitch and was seen closing down opponents at lighting speed which helped his side win a lot of balls in the attacking third.
The two goals that he scored were very crucial for Gokulam as both of them were winning goals against East Bengal and Lajong. Kivi also had a big role to play in Gokulam’s late surge in form which helped them to get the name tag of ‘Giant Killers’.