The premise of the Indian Super League (ISL) has been the development of Indian talent. Therefore, it would be a pleasing sight that nine of the top ten players who have made the most appearances in the league thus far happen to be Indian. Moreover, all of them are a significant part of the Indian national team as well.
While the glitz and the glamour of the ISL has managed to capture the imagination of the fans across the league, there have been a few who have managed to perform on a consistent basis for their respective clubs.
That said, let's take a look at five players who have made the most appearances since the inception of the Indian Super League.
1) Mandar Rao Dessai
The 28-year old is a veteran of Indian football if ever there was one. Having played a significant chunk of his junior football in and around Goa, it is not surprising that 88 of Mandar Rao Dessai's 97 ISL appearances have been for FC Goa.
In addition to this, the Goan-based left winger boasts of over 100 goals for Dempo SC in the I-League prior to signing with FC Goa.
Mandar has been an important part of the FC Goa outfit in the league. Having played under a bevy of coaches, he is more or less deployed in the left wing-back position. In recent seasons, he has also been handed the captain's armband on several occasions and has led his side to many important victories as well.
2) Narayan Das
As a defender who can play in almost any position across the back four, Narayan Das is as solid as they come. His solidity and pace as a wing-back has made his services sought after by many a club across the ISL.
So far, the 27-year-old has made 90 appearances in the ISL, having played for some of the biggest clubs such as Odisha FC, FC Goa, and the Delhi Dynamos.
The upcoming season will witness Narayan Das return to a rather familiar setting with East Bengal FC. Needless to say, his role in the team will be of utmost importance given the fact that this is the first season in the ISL for East Bengal FC.
3) Lenny Rodrigues
Like Mandar Rao Dessai, Lenny Rodrigues is a native of Goa and therefore, it isn't surprising that his loyalty lies with FC Goa. Having impressed in the I-League with Churchill Brothers, Rodrigues made a mark on the ISL with FC Pune City and subsequently with Bengaluru FC.
Since his move to FC Goa in 2018, the 28-year-old has been a mainstay in the midfield. The arrivals of Ahmed Jahouh and Hugo Boumous only enhanced his skill as a midfield maestro. So far, he has made 87 appearances in the ISL and will be looking to cross the 100 mark by the end of the season.
4) Subrata Pal
Of all the goalkeepers in the league, 33-year-old Subrata Pal is the most reliable, to say the least. Having claimed the Golden Glove for the 2017-18 season, Pal also boasts the most number of cleansheets in the league's history with 26 to his name.
In addition to this, he has also made 85 appearances in the ISL, an astounding stat that makes him a legend of Indian football. Pal previously played for Jamshedpur FC wherein he made 43 appearances before making the move to Hyderabad FC for the upcoming season.
5) Harmanjot Khabra
Barring the left wing, it seems as though Harmanjot Khabra can play anywhere across the defence and midfield. It was this versatility that has made him one of the most important players for Bengaluru FC.
Having played for the Blues since 2017, Khabra has generally been deployed in either central midfield or as a right full-back. Prior to his move to Bengaluru FC, the 31-year-old was an important part of the Chennaiyin FC midfield.
While playing for Chennaiyin FC, he played alongside some of the greats of world football including Marco Materazzi, Mikael Silvestre, Elano and Bernard Mendy. Needless to say, he will have an important role as the Blues look to win their first ISL title since the 2018-19 season.Published 30 Sep 2020, 19:44 IST