The 12th edition of the I-League kicked off from Friday, with Chennai City FC registering a 4-1 win over Indian Arrows in the first match. This season will witness 11 teams who will face each other on home and away basis.
The I-League has already seen some of the biggest stars from abroad. While the domestic players improved their level by participating in the league, foreigners also made valuable contributions in making the league more exciting.
Some of the notable names are Chima Okorie, Jose Ramirez Barreto, Suleh Musah, Igor Shkyvrin, Darryl Duffy, Chidi Edeh, Ranti Martins etc.
The foreigners have always played a vital role in making the teams successful. The Igor-Barreto combination or Musah’s brilliant display helped Mohun Bagan and East Bengal win the National Football League.
In the initial years, the clubs were more concentrated hiring players from African subcontinent. A few came from Brazil also. But recently, players from East Asia, Europe started making their way into the league.
Syrian playmaker Mahmoud Al Amnah, now with East Bengal, played a vital part in Aizawl FC’s title-winning campaign. Sony Norde’s spirited performance gave Mohun Bagan the I-League three years ago.
This year, the focus has shifted to Spanish players. East Bengal have signed Borja Gomez Perez as a part of their line-up and Alejandro Menendez as their coach. Chennai City FC have Nelson Gordillo.
Let’s have a look at the five foreign players of this edition:
#5 David Izazola (Churchill Brothers)
The Mexican footballer played U-20 World Cup for his country and finished in the third position in 2011. He started his professional career in 2007 with Pumas CCH in the third tier. He made his debut in the top division in 2011, soon after the World Cup.
He played for Pumas Morales before having two loan stints in Queretaro and Atletico San Luis.
The next was an adventure with Budapest Honved in Hungary. He had short stints with Atlante and Salamanca before joining Churchill Brothers.
He faced severe adversities in his life. Many a time, he raised his voice against Mexican football and their bad treatment to the players.
He announced retirement quite surprisingly at the age of 24 in 2016 against a protest to the Mexican football federation for their ill-treatment towards Mexican players.
Being a forward, he was often praised by the media for his immense talent. For Churchill, it needs to be seen how many times he find the back of the net.