NorthEast United FC will be keen to know if it is their year, this time around, in the Indian Super League. Trends from previous years have revealed that the home team for the inaugural match of the season ultimately lands up being the champion.
While Atletico de Kolkata, who played the first game of the Indian football competition in 2014 at the Salt Lake Stadium, stood the inaugural champions, Chennaiyin FC, who played the first game of ISL 2015 in Marina Arena, emerged as the champions in the second season. In ISL 2016, NorthEast United FC play the opening game of the tournament in Guwahati.
The side, co-owned by Bollywood actor John Abraham, take on Kerala Blasters on 1 October.
NorthEast United FC had to appoint two coaches this summer. They appointed Sergio Farias in May 2016, but interestingly, two months later, the football coach opted to head back to his former Thai club Suphanburi FC. The Indian Super League franchisee, however, moved on and appointed experienced gaffer Nelo Vingada in July, a move that attracted praise from all quarters.
Former Tottenham Hotspur star midfielder Didier Zokora, who played for FC Pune City last year, has been named the marquee player of NorthEast United FC for ISL 2016. The side also retained their star forward in Nico Velez and added Mohun Bagan star Katsumi Yusa, who is one of the most influential players of the I-League club.
The Indian Super League side travelled to Dubai this time around for their preseason training.
Didier Zokora (marquee), Nico Velez, Fabio Neves, Katsumi Yusa, Emiliano Alfaro, Romaric, Sasha Aneff, Wellington Priori, Mailson Alves, Gustavo Lazzaretti, Wellington Lima.