The fifth season of the Indian Super League started on September 29, 2018. All ten clubs then announced their squads for the first phase of the tournament, which will end on December 16, 2018. Teams get another chance to register a 25-man squad for the tournament, after the completion of the January transfer window.
Here are the squads for the 10 ISL clubs for the first phase of ISL 2018-19.
Having appointed a new coach in Englishman Steve Coppell, the side from Kolkata will look to bounce back from a miserable campaign the last time around. Several proven players such as Manuel Lanzarote, John Johnson and Kalu Uche joined ATK in the off-season.
The runners-up from ISL 2017-18 also had a change of manager in the off-season, as Carles Cuadrat was promoted from his role of assistant manager to head coach. Bengaluru once again kept together the bulk of their core, with Sunil Chhetri, Miku, Erik Paartalu, Juanan and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu all continuing their stints with the club.
The defending champions had a satisfactory off-season, despite the loss of some critical players. Their inspirational captain Henrique Sereno didn't renew his contract, but other key players like Inigo Calderon, Raphael Augusto and Mailson Alves have extended their stays in Chennai. Chennaiyin were dealt a huge blow as Dhanpal Ganesh was ruled out for a bulk of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The team from the capital had a wretched season last time around, but several Indian youngsters such as Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vinit Rai and Nandhakumar Sekar came through the ranks and impressed. This time, Delhi have also added experience to the squad, in the form of Marcos Tebar and Rene Mihelic.
Goa were dealt a blow in the off-season, with Lanzarote's departure. But in the form of Coro, Hugo Boumous and Ahmed Jahouh, they still have a strong set of foreigners to complement a strong Indian bunch of Mandar Rao Desai, Brandon Fernandes in addition to new signings like Jackichand Singh and Lenny Rodrigues.
Like Goa, Chennaiyin and Bengaluru, Pune have not tinkered too much with their squad, keeping a lot of their big players from last season. The additions of Robin Singh and Martin Diaz are shrewd, to go with what they already have, which is a potent force in the form of Marcelinho.
Jamshedpur have had a revamp of their squad in the off-season, with only two of their seven foreigners staying on for another season. Coach Cesar Ferrando's influence is obvious, as they have brought in four Spaniards. The show-stopper, of course, is Tim Cahill. The legendary Aussie has signed for the Miners on a one-year deal.
There is a heavy eastern-European feel to the Kerala Blasters squad, with as many as four foreigners from Serbia and Slovenia. Len Doungel adds firepower from the wide areas, while Anas Edathodika will, no doubt, strengthen their rearguard. They also signed young Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, the goalkeeper who impressed one and all at the U-17 World Cup last year.
Alexandre Guimaraes left the Islanders in the off-season, as Mumbai City swooped to bring in Jorge Costa as head coach. They have made several shrewd Indian signings in the off-season, having added the likes of Souvik Chakraborty, Subhasish Bose and Bipin Singh to their squad.
After an unmitigated disaster in 2017-18, NorthEast's first move was to bring in Eelco Schattorie as their head coach, which was a sound move given his Indian football pedigree. Bartholomew Ogbeche, their captain, played for Nigeria in the 2002 World Cup as well. Rowllin Borges and TP Rehenesh also extended their contracts, as they begin a fifth season with the Highlanders.
Note: All squads were updated on January 25, 2019