3 things Odisha FC must do before the start of next season of ISL
- Odisha FC's franchise still needs to put a lot of efforts as they have failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive time
With a change in name and venue, Rohan Sharma's side finally found its chemistry and had a decent run in the ISL. Odisha FC gave a far better account of themselves in the 2019-20 season than the previous two runs of the franchises when they occupied the eighth position. With 25 points from 18 matches, Odisha finished sixth in the standing and missed out on playoff spots.
Odisha FC amped their goalscoring prowess considerably with the team finding the back of the net 28 times as compared to the 23 they ticked in the previous season. Both Aridane Santana and replacement Manuel Onwu were merciless in front of goals.
Their wing play was also brilliant. Nandhakumar Sekar and Jerry Mawihmingthanga's crosses from either end of the pitches were deadly and both, deservedly, got shortlisted for the national team squad against Qatar.
All said and done, Odisha FC's franchise still needs to put a lot of efforts as they have failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive time under the same head coach Josep Gombau despite being the only club to have their pre-season abroad.
Without any further ado, here are three things Odisha FC must do before the start of the next season of ISL.
#3 Improve in defence
The top four clubs have a robust defensive unit and, unsurprisingly, have conceded the least number of goals in the tournament. Odisha FC, on the other hand, have let in 31 goals, which is only better than Kerala Blasters, Jamshedpur FC, and NorthEast United FC. Moreover, they kept only four clean sheets in the tournament.
They can start by buying a good Indian goalkeeper. Arshdeep Singh still needs time to groom himself up to the ISL level. And whenever head coach Josep Gombau opted for Francisco Dorronsoro in the line-up, he had to deploy one foreigner less in the outfield.
Shubham Sarangi showed signs of promise in the right-back position but conceded 45 fouls in 17 matches. Gaurav Bora was a shadow of his former self at Chennai City FC's I-League winning campaign. Narayan Das did whip in a lot of crosses (51) but slacked slightly when it came to defending.
#2 Be more pragmatic
Odisha FC's passing brand of football is tough to implement and equally good to watch. In fact, they have led the possession statistics against most of the teams. But it tends to be too monotonous.
The slow build-up has hurt them a lot of time this season. Even while being a goal or two down, they didn't show urgency and resorted to sedate passing and didn't intensify their rhythm.
Merely depending on incisive passes or crosses as a route to goals won't help them throughout the season. They need to be clinical from set-pieces while both attacking and defending.
#1 Retain their star players
Odisha FC have been found guilty of releasing their players in the thick of form. In the previous season, they sold Pritam Kotal to ATK in the winter transfer window and didn't retain Lallianzuala Chhangte when his contract ended.
There are already rumours doing rounds that Narayan Das is set to join Hyderabad FC for the next season of ISL. While it is understandable from the business aspect, in case they want to finish above in the points table, they need to start retaining them.
Xisco Hernandez should be top in the list. The same goes with their two wingers, Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Nandhakumar Sekar. Aridane Santana and Manuel Onwu were purchased on loan. Forcing them to continue with Odisha FC for the next season could be tough. But the club should put all their efforts.Published 02 Mar 2020, 17:21 IST