ISL 2021-22: From Greg Stewart to Airam Cabrera, five new foreign players to watch out for

Here are five new foreign players to watch out for in upcoming season of ISL.

FP Sports November 19, 2021 09:39:47 IST
ISL 2021-22: From Greg Stewart to Airam Cabrera, five new foreign players to watch out for

Greg Stewart while playing for Rangers FC. AFP

Seven months since Sergio Lobera’s Mumbai City FC lifted the Indian Super League title in Goa, another fresh season is set to get underway at the same venue with rivals Kerala Blasters and ATK Mohun Bagan going head to head in the ISL 2021-22 opener on Friday.

Overseas experience has helped Indian players develop their football, assisted teams to trophies, and it will come in handy yet again this time.

The ISL, which will be played inside a bio-bubble for a second consecutive season, will see a host of changes, with one of them being seven Indians in the playing eleven up from the previous six. This means only four overseas players can feature in the eleven whatsoever.

Nevertheless, overseas experience is pivotal in nurturing indian talent, so let’s take a look at five foreign players to watch out for in upcoming season:

Greg Stewart (Jamshedpur FC)

Greg Stewart, the 31-year-old Scottish footballer who can play as a forward or even as an attacking midfielder, is set to ply his trade in the ISL for the first time, having been signed up by Jamshedpur FC.

Stewart comes to India having had an immense playing career in Scotland, representing the likes of Aberdeen and Kilmarnock. He also won the Scottish Premiership with Rangers FC, so that should work as an inspiration for Owen Coyle’s men.

Stewart will complete the frontline alongside Nerijus Valskis and Jordan Murray, although it remains to be seen how Coyle will use the Scot in the lineup.

Stewart began his career with Scottish outfit Cowdenbeath FC, where he scored 40 goals in 141 appearances between 2010 and 2014.

Since joining Rangers in 2019, Stewart found the net three times, while assisting seven times in 33 appearances.

Daniel Chima Chukwu (SC East Bengal)

Nigerian strike Daniel Chima Chukwu might be an obscure name, but the 30-year-old joins SC East Bengal for the upcoming season as the Red and Gold brigade aim for a successful season after a disappointing ninth place finish in their debut ISL season last time out.

Chukwu is a three-time Norwegian first-division winner, having been part of Molde FK’s title-winning sides in 2011, 2012 and 2014 apart from two Norwegian Cup titles in 2013 and 2014.

Chukwu was also Molde’s top scorer in 2013, with 13 goals to his name, and has played under current Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during his stint as the Molde's manager.

Chima has also plied trade for Polish side Legia Warsaw, where he represented the club in the UEFA Europa League and the Champions League qualifiers.

Mirlan Murzaev ( Chennaiyin FC)

Kyrgyzstan international Mirlan Murzaev is another new foreign recruit in the ISL and will represent Chennaiyin FC in the coming season.

Chennaiyin FC have undergone a major overhaul, with Bozidar Bandovic taking over from Csaba Laszlo.

The new boss has brought in four other foreigners, including Hungarian midfielder Vladimir Koman.

Mirlan usually plays as a right-winger but is versatile in the attacking midfielders slot or even the left wing. Mirlan has scored eight goals and as many assists in 22 matches since the 2020-21 season.

Airam Cabrera (FC Goa)

With Igor Angulo moving to Mumbai City FC, Spanish striker Airam Cabrera has big shoes to fill in.

Cabrera is an experienced campaigner in Spain, having played for Villarreal B side and Cadiz. He had a relatively decent stint with Cadiz between 2013 and 2015, having scored 35 goals in 65 appearances.

Cabrera’s last stint came with Wisla Plock in the Polish first division, and while he had a quiet season scoring just one goal, he will have the responsibility and an opportunity to lead the Gaur’s frontline.

Speaking of which, FC Goa’s frontline has proven time and again that they are among the best in the league, with Ferran Corominas (2017-18 and 2018-19 ) and Igor Angulo (2020-21) having won the Golden Boot, so expectations will be high from that striker as well.

Alvaro Vazquez (Kerala Blasters)

Kerala Blasters have had problems scoring goals over the last few seasons, and Spanish striker Alvaro Vazquez could be their answer to that problem.

Alvaro is yet another experienced campaigner having played in top leagues like LaLiga and the Premier League.

And while Vazquez may not be a striker with too many goals, he is still effective in the link-up play and creating chances.

In the Blasters set-up, Alvaro will have the support of Jorge Pereryra and Adrian Luna, apart from the Indian players.

Vazquez has had stints with Espanyol and Getafe, and his experience in top-tier leagues in Europe will certainly be a plus for Kerala Blasters, who are aiming to resurrect their old charm in the ISL.

Updated Date:

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