NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) is a football club which competes in the premier competition of Indian football - Indian Super League (ISL). It was a historic moment in Indian football as NorthEast United FC became the first team in the world to have a representation by region instead of a city. The club represents the eight states of India - Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The region is considered as the epicentre of footballing talent in the country.
Based in Guwahati, Assam, the franchise is owned and operated by Bollywood actor John Abraham, making it the only ISL club not owned by any company or corporation. They play their home matches at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati.
Nicknamed as ‘The Highlanders’, the team is coached by the newly appointed, former Dutch player Eelco Schattorie and Avram Grant as their advisor. The team is flanked by a very dedicated group of supporters, officially named as the Highlander Brigade and remains an excited bunch of people in a football crazy region. With their support for Indian football in general, along with the other fan clubs of the country, they play a pivotal role in building the footballing fan culture of the nation.
The logo of the team is a crest featured with eight stars at the top representing each state of the region. The crest consists of red, black and white applications, with the club name written in bold letters between the main crest and the stars.
In the third season of ISL, the crest was designed in gold but was changed back to the original color after the end of the season. The original crest, along with red and white is currently used by the club. Their kit manufacturer is Performax.
Northeast United FC’s performance has been disappointing so far in the ISL. The team has failed to qualify to the playoffs and has finished bottom of the table twice. The 2017-18 ISL season was quite a disaster for the club as along with ending at the bottom of the table, they also had the worst crowd turnout in the league. They managed to win only 3 matches and score 12 points, being the lowest for the season.
By the end of the 2015 season, the club entered the top-four for semi-finals but lost their position to Chennaiyin FC, who defeated Pune City to gain 3 points and secure the spot. The club again got a chance to enter the top-four for semi-finals in the 2016 season but lost to Kerala Blasters, missing their semi-final chance. The club scored 14 goals and conceded 14 goals in that season.
In their debut season, the team did not make the end-of-season play-offs, and finished in last place among the eight teams. ISL 2017 proved to be the nightmare season which ended in a eight long match losing streak where they drew one match and lost all the other. They finished the season at the last position.
Major Players for the ISL 2018
Nagaland striker Kivi Zhimomi is hopeful for filling in some crucial gaps for the team in the upcoming season given his history with Gokulam Kerala FC. With the newly recruited lot of foreign players consisting the likes of Bartholomew Ogbeche and the young Juan Cruz Mascia, Eelco Schattorie is bound to make sure that the right process is followed to gain success. After losing right winger Seityasen Singh to a long-term injury lay-off, the head coach hopes that Redeem Tlang will strongly fill in and make use of the opportunity.
Young talent Rupert Nongrum is efficient on the midfield while with the experience of Reagan Singh, Lalrempuia Fanai, and Rowllin Borges, they are confident on putting up a commendable gameplay. TP Rehenesh will look to end his spell of poor performance and take the team to a better position in the 2018-19 season.