Odisha FC are increasingly becoming synonymous with being a club that gives ample opportunity to young Indian talents. But they also know how to temper that with quality and experience on the pitch. This Indian Super League (ISL) season, quality comes in the form of South African international Cole Alexander.
Coach Stuart Baxter will be excited with the addition of Alexander, a box-to-box central midfielder who has also got good shooting abilities from range.
But just who is Cole Alexander, and what has his career been like?
Here is everything you need to know about Cole Alexander:
#1 Early days
Born in Cape Town, Alexander played for a number of youth clubs like Leeds Lentegeur, Seven Stars Academy and Santos. But it was only after he joined Hellenic FC in 2004 that other professional clubs started noticing him. The four years he spent at Hellenic were enough to attract the attention of Ajax Cape Town's U-17 team, and within a season he was promoted to the side's senior squad.
#2 Evolution as a midfielder at Ajax Cape Town
It was under the leadership of head coach and South African football legend Duncan Crowie that Alexander became comfortable and competent in the role of a box-to-box central midfielder. He developed his efficiency in both executing attacks and protecting the defense.
Alexander won the Telkom knockout tournament in his first season with Ajax and continued to be an important member of the team under the new manager Muhsin Ertugral.
However, Cole Alexander suffered a knee injury which suddenly put a break to all the good progress he was making on the pitch. After recovering from the injury, he did not make an impression on the new coach Roger De Sa, and was loaned out twice, first to Vasco da Gama in 2011 and then to Chippa United in 2012.
#3 Best phase as a player
In 2014, Cole Alexander signed with Polokwane City on a two-year deal and had the best phase of his career. Even though manager Boebie Solomons made way for new coach Kosta Papic, he remained an integral part of the team. It was during this time that he got called up to the South African national team.
Alexander has since gone on to play for SuperSport United which he joined in February 2016, and then the Bidvest Wits in 2018. He has already played under Odisha FC coach Stuart Baxter when he was the manager of the South African national team. It should not be long before Alexander finds his feet in the Indian Super League as well.Published 19 Nov 2020, 18:39 IST