ISL 2017: 5 reasons why NorthEast United can win the title
It’s been a case of so close yet so far for NorthEast United, who tantalisingly missed out on play-off berths, finishing fifth in two of the last three Indian Super League seasons. Revamped with a new vigour, the Highlanders aim to take another shot at glory in the fourth edition, which commences on November 17.
NEUFC will miss the dedicated services of attacking midfielder Katsumi Yusa and strikers Nicolas Velez and Emiliano Alfaro, while last season’s head coach Nelo Vingada has also departed by opting for the Malaysian men's senior national team’s job.
The John Abraham co-owned team haven’t hired any head-turning marquee star but have loaded their arsenal with some of the promising Indian talents.
Here’s a look at the reasons which make the NorthEast side favourites to win the ISL 2017 crown:
#1 Non-Indian forwards can spring a surprise
Nobody knew much about Velez and Alfaro before they rocked stage with their goal-scoring tenacity. Same is the case with strikers Danilo Lopes Cezario and Luis Alfonso Paez, who, inspite of having played for small teams fit the bill very smoothly. Danilo has already scored thrice in the pre-season games while Paez, who is very good with his left foot, free-kicks and headers, has found the back of the net once.
Lastly, NEUFC have another striking option in Odair Fortes, who has more than 200 games under his belt for French club, Reims. His experience will come in handy.