Five Brazilians, four Colombians, three Frenchmen and a Serbian – they are the ones who make the current list of international players who have so far confirmed their availability for the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). Of the 49 international players who are supposed to ply their trade in the tournament, scheduled to start in October, only 13 have signed on the dotted line till date.
While most of them have a decent experience of playing in European and South American leagues, on the whole they remain obscure to the Indian audience. The ISL organisers have said that the international players’ draft will take place in Mumbai on August 21.
IMG-Reliance have found the going tough to bring international players on board for the tournament and this is reportedly one of the reasons for the postponement of the league from September to October.
In an email to the franchisees sent on Saturday, IMG’s global football vice-president Andy Knee assured the clubs that “the coming few days will see that number (13) grow rapidly as we continue to receive signed contracts back from other players who have already agreed to sign.”
He added: “We will send a further list out during next week, before the final list is provided next weekend together with player costs.”
The clubs, however, have expressed their concern over the process, saying they need at least a week to research about the player before the draft. “This is different compared to the domestic draft because we hardly know anything about these international players. We cannot go simply by someone’s word. We are assured that the rest of the names will be revealed this week. Let’s hope that happens,” a franchise official said.
Former Monaco and St Etienne defender Sylvain Monsoreau headlines the French flavour in the draft. The 33-year-old has more than 50 appearances for Monaco (2006-2008 and St Etienne (2008-2012). He will be joined by compatriot and fellow defender Cedric Hengbart, who has more than 150 appearances for French League 1 side Auxerre in his five-season stint from 2008 to 2013.
Colombian defenders Jairo Suarez and Andres Gonzalez, who’ve played for Santa Fe, too will be a part of the draft. Serbian Bojan Djordjic, who has made one appearance for Manchester United during his five-year stay from 1999 to 2004, too has confirmed his participation. The 32-year-old attacking midfielder has played in the top divisions of England, Scotland and Serbia in his 16-year long career.
The Brazilians (centre-back Erwin Spitzner, midfielders Gustavo Marmentini, Guilherme Felipe, Bruno Augusto and striker Pedro Veloso) are all aged under 22 and play for Atletico Paranaense in the Brasileiro.