ISL 2018: NorthEast United FC retain four players for upcoming season
What's the story?
In case you didn't know...
The Highlanders, despite having promising players, have usually ended up on the wrong side of the ISL table. They finished rock bottom at 8th position in the inaugural season. In the 2nd edition in 2015/16, they faired marginally better and were able to grab the 5th spot. After another 5th place finish in ISL 2016/17, they finished at the 10th position (last) in the latest edition of ISL, which was also the season where 2 new teams -- namely Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC -- were introduced.
The heart of the matter
The Highlanders announced, via a video on their official Twitter handle, the four players that were retained and had their contract extended. While all the other clubs are busy in transfers, this is the first action of the North East-based club for the upcoming season.
Firstly, the 27-year-old defender Reagan Singh was retained by the club. The Manipur-born player is efficient in the Right-Back position and can be used as a Centre-Back as well. Reagen was first signed the club in 2015. Thereafter, he moved to I-League side Salgaocar in 2016 before coming back to NorthEast United in the same year. Reagan will now look to consolidate his position with The Highlanders.
The second player to be retained was TP Rehenesh, the young 25-year-old goalkeeper. The Kerala-born player has a vast experience of playing at I-league clubs like Shillong Lajong FC and East Bengal FC besides being a regular with NorthEast United.
Thirdly, The Highlanders retained the services of the young midfielder Lalrempuia Fanai. The 22-year-old earlier played for fellow ISL side Pune City FC. However, as was the case with Pune City, Fanai has never gotten much playing time with NorthEast United as well. The Mizoram born players' potential is yet to be fully exploited by the team.
Finally, defensive midfielder Rowllin Borges became the fourth player to be retained. The 26-year-old has been a regular starter for The Highlanders since 2016 and his tall 6 ft. frame has helped them avert danger in the box on multiple occasions when aerial balls were played in. Rowllin has become a highly respected defender as he has also featured in the Indian National football team's colours on 22 occasions.
Many had interpreted that NorthEast United had gone into slumber after last season, however, the tweet silenced critics and showed that they are very much alive.
All the four players retained have tremendous potential in their own rights. However, if NorthEast United FC is to bring about a change in fortunes for themselves, then it is high time they started bringing in new players to the team as well.
What is your opinion of the 4 players that have been retained by NorthEast United FC? Do let us know in the comments section below.