The Mumbai-based franchise of the world's biggest hockey league, Dabang Mumbai, made wholesome changes to the squad ahead of the season. For the 2016 Coal India Hockey India League, the Alphas retained just 3 players and brought in 17 players to overturn their fortunes.Dabang Mumbai narrowly missed the semi-final of the 4th edition of the tournament despite having the same points as 4th-placed team Kalinga Lancers. The new signings created an immediate impact as the Alphas registered their best finish to the tournament.Let's take a look at the 5 best performers from the new players signed by Dabang Mumbai:
#1 Matthew Swann
Australian international, Matthew Swann was signed by Dabang Mumbai for US $75,000. Despite paying almost 4 times the base price, Swann proved to be a bargain as he donned the captain's armband with pride and led the team by example. Despite playing as a midfielder, the 26-year-old contributed up front scoring 1 field goal (2 points) while he was a nightmare for the opposition. His leadership skills enabled his teammates to raise their level and help the team enormously.
#2 Florian Fuchs
The tournament's second most expensive player Florian Fuchs was a top performer for the Alphas this season. Despite playing in his debut season, the 24-year-old emerged as the top scorer for the team with 5 field goals (10 points). The German led the line well while dropping deep on numerous occasions to help the midfield out. His dribbling skills were a sight to behold and his lethal finishing had the goalkeepers on their toes.
#3 Gurjant Singh
The Alphas' 20-year-old forward, Gurjant Singh, was possibly the bargain of the season. The youngster was bought for a mere US $2,600 and he finished in the top 10 goalscorers of the tournament's group stage with 2 field goals (4 points). Blessed with blistering pace and brilliant stickwork, Gurjant was the Alphas' secret weapon in the striking department as he ably supported Fuchs.
#4 Nilakanta Sharma
Despite being considered as one of the most unlikely sources for goals, Nilakanta Sharma scored 2 field goals (4 points) to be counted in the top 10 goalscorers of the HIL 2016 group stage. The 20-year-old plays in midfield, but his constant running saw him in the opposition circle on pivotal occasions. He gave the Alphas the lead late in the third quarter in their first win of the tournament while he repeated the feat against Delhi Waveriders in the final quarter to have a major say in 2 of his team's wins.
#5 Affan Yousuf
21-year-old Affan Yousuf gave a good account of himself at the 2016 Coal India Hockey India League. The youngster running on the byline getting him past opponents with ease was a regular occurrence as he used his dribbling ability to the maximum. Keeping the ball close to himself and running at the defenders, Affan was a potent weapon in the Alphas' armoury in the tournament. He scored Dabang Mumbai's last goal of the tournament when his goal in the 59th minute helped the team beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their final league game.