The Indian Super League (ISL) management has mandated that each club have one player on their overseas roster with an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) affiliation. This development has seen several ISL clubs look at the A-League to secure recruits ahead of the new season.
The 2020/21 season of the ISL will witness 12 AFC registered players including 10 Australians, one Japanese, and one Tajikistani player. Let's take a look at five AFC registered players who are expected to come good this season.
1) Cy Goddard (Mumbai City FC)
23-year-old Cy Goddard was the first overseas player to sign for Mumbai City FC. The youngster, who was previously a part of the Tottenham Hotspur youth academy, was signed on loan from Italian side Benevento.
Goddard made his first appearance for Mumbai City FC against Chennaiyin FC in a friendly match.
Although Goddard is quite low in the pecking order for Sergio Lobera, he possesses the traits of a young winger who can make it big in European leagues.
He is expected to be an impact player for Lobera this ISL season and will be playing the role of a super sub.
2) James Donachie (FC Goa)
As a central defender, James Donachie is as solid as they come. The 27-year old signed for FC Goa on loan from Newcastle Jets and is widely viewed as a replacement for the recently-departed Mourtada Fall.
Standing at 6 feet and four inches, Donachie's imposing figure makes him dangerous when it comes to set-pieces.
The Australian will partner Ivan Gonzalez in central defence with Lenny Rodrigues and Edu Bedia playing in front of the back four. It is also highly anticipated that Donachie will sign a permanent deal the following season for Juan Ferrando's side.
3) Scott Neville (SC East Bengal)
Following the announcement that SC East Bengal was an ISL team with Robbie Fowler at the helm, Australian defender Scott Neville was the first overseas player to be signed. This fulfilled the AFC player criteria almost immediately.
Neville had previously played under Fowler at Brisbane Roar. The 31-year-old is a versatile defender and can play across three positions in the defensive unit, barring left-back.
In the context of the East Bengal squad composition, Neville is expected to slot in as a centre-half together with Gurtej Singh, while Narayan Das will be playing at right-back.
4) Fatkhulo Fatkhuloev (Chennaiyin FC)
Tajikistan national team captain Fatkhulo Fatkhuloev became the first player from his country to sign for a club in the ISL, when he put pen to paper with Chennaiyin FC. A few days later, the 30-year-old was also named the captain of the side by Csaba Laszlo.
Fatkhuoev comes into the ISL with experience and proven ability, courtesy some strong performances in the Tajikistan Higher League with Istiklol.
One of his most notable exploits was scoring for Tajikistan against India in an international friendly. Much will be expected of him as captain of Chennaiyin FC.
5) Bradden Inman (ATK Mohun Bagan)
A product of the Newcastle United Academy, Bradden Inman signed as the second Australian player for new ISL club ATK Mohun Bagan. Although Inman did not make it to an English Premier League side, he impressed with A-League side Brisbane Roar in the one season he played for them.
Inman is expected to be a player starting from the bench, as part of a strong ATK Mohun Bagan side. Coach Antonio Lopez Habas could start with Roy Krishna, Edu Garcia, and Javi Hernandez in central midfield.