John Abraham's Indian Super League (ISL) franchise NorthEast United FC had a disappointing campaign in the 2021-22 season, with the team finishing second last.
Khalid Jamil took charge of the team after they parted ways with Gerard Nus in the middle of the 2020-21 season.
After guiding the Highlanders to a playoff finish in the 2020-21 season, Jamil was handed the responsibility the following season. But the head coach failed to replicate his heroics. An injury-plagued NorthEast United FC had trouble settling down amidst a competitive environment and fell victim to most teams in the league.
Still, NorthEast United FC has had an interesting journey over the course of its history. It has boasted of some really talented players in its ranks. As another ISL season draws near, let's take a look at some of the best players to have played for NorthEast United FC.
Here is a look at the club's all-time best XI.
Goalkeeper: Subhasish Roy Chowdhury
The experienced custodian played a major role in the club's second appearance in the ISL playoffs. The veteran goalkeeper was in peak form in his second season at the club, making splendid saves and earning the vote of the Highlanders.
Subhasish Roy Chowdhury is deserving of a spot as a goalkeeper for the club's all-time best XI.
Reagan Singh (Right Back)
The Manipuri defender has the highest number of appearances in a NorthEast United FC shirt. Reagan Singh has been witness to turbulent times at the club and has been a consistent performer.
Benjamin Lambot (Center Back)
The Belgian center back reserves the right to be named on this list after his heroics in the 2020-21 season. Benjamin Lambot's persona and performances helped the side to the playoffs under Khalid Jamil.
Mato Grgic (Center Back)
Croatian defender Mato Grgic is probably the best defender to have played for the NorthEast United FC. He helped the club to their first-ever playoffs and played a significant role in the club's build-up phase.
Robert Lalthlamuana (Left Back)
Robert was a leader both on and off the pitch. He was a regular in the first team and was part of the squad that made it to the playoffs for the first time.
Khassa Camara (Central Defensive Midfielder)
Khassa Camara was a beast in the center of midfield. The French-born Mauritanian midfielder spent two seasons with the club and replicated the role of famous French midfielder Claude Makelele in a NorthEast United FC shirt. He managed to screen the defense and help the side in the build-up phase.
Rowllin Borges (Central Defensive Midfielder)
The Highlanders have had some good Indian midfielders amongst their ranks over the years but Rowllin Borges stands out from the rest. With five goals and three assists to his name, Borges makes it to the all-time best XI list of NorthEast United FC.
Federico Gallego (Central Midfielder / Central Attacking Midfielder)
The Uruguayan midfield maestro is nothing short of a legend. Having spent four seasons at the club spanning from 2018 to 2022, Federico Gallego is a hero to the Highlanders faithful. With nine goals and 11 assists during his tenure at the club, Gallego made it to the all-time best XI list.
Suhair VP (Winger)
Suhair was a favorite of his coaches at NorthEast United FC. The former Mohun Bagan forward was consistent throughout his time at the club, bullying opposition players and outworking his teammates.
He was vital for the side during both offensive and defensive transitions. Suhair also holds the record for the highest number of goals scored by an Indian for the Highlanders.
Nico Velez (Winger)
The Argentine winger remains a fan favorite and was one of the highest scorers before being taken over by Bartholomew Ogbeche. Nico managed to outwit opponents, leaving fans dazzled with his skills.
Forwards: Bartholomew Ogbeche
The Nigerian forward holds the record for the club's highest goalscorer in the ISL in a single season. He only played 19 games for the Highlanders but made an impression that has lasted to this day.