With the new season of Indian Football all set to kickoff in sometime, I-League clubs are busy finalizing their foreign players for the upcoming season. Sporting Clube de Goa have signed Spanish duo of Gonzalo Hinojal and Arturo Navarro while state rivals Dempo have roped in Shinnosuke Honda

Sporting Clube de Goa Sign Spanish duo of Gonzalo Hinojal and Arturo Navarro

After finishing 6th in the I-League last season, Sporting Clube de Goa look set to start this year’s campaign having signed on the Spanish duo of Gonzalo Hinojal and Arturo Navarro. Modeled after the Portuguese side Sporting Clube de Portugal, Sporting Clube de Goa have completed their quota of foreign players after adding the two Spaniards to their squad.

The quality of foreign players recruited by a football club has often proved to be decisive for the team. Since only four foreign players are allotted to every club, it is important to judiciously bring them on board.  And judging by the quality of their reinforcements this year, Sporting Clube looks to have done just that.

Defender Angel Barlega and striker Juanfri both of whom played a key role in Sporting’s performances last season departed from the club at the end of the season due to various reasons. The absence of an experienced foreign player is disastrous for any club and Sporting have done well by bringing on board Arturo Navarro and Gonzalo Neila to fill in the void. The fact that both the players used to play for Deportivo Guijuelo will only add to the team chemistry and help them adjust in Goa.

Gonzalo Hinojal and Arturo Navarro

Gonzalo Hinojal and Arturo Navarro

Arturo Navarro is a product of Valencia’s youth system which has given birth to several world class players such as David Villa, Silva and Juan Mata. Hence there is no doubt that the 24 year old midfielder will be able to contribute to the Goan side immensely. He has won trophies for Valencia’s youth ranks and also played for the senior team, debuting for them in the Copa del Rey tournament. He has also played for Ontinyent CF, Osasuna B and Deportivo Guijuelo in his career. The talented Spaniard will be providing the manager with a lot of options in the midfield and defense and will be called upon to fulfill a lot of different roles on the field.

On the other hand, Gonzalo Neila played in Spain’s third division league for Salamanca B and last appeared for Zamora CF in the second division. At 27 years of age, the Spanish defender will be the founding stone for Sporting’ defence and his international experience will prove to be extremely useful for his team members. Gonzalo will have to fill in the void created by the departure of Angel Barlega and along with Deepak Devrani and Matthew Gonsalves will have the responsibility of leading the Sporting defense

Boima Karpeh from Australia is another important acquisition for Sporting. The Australian striker had joined the Goan side from Pune FC and will be looked upon to perform for the team. Sporting’s 4th and oldest foreign player is Ogba Kalu Nnanna from Nigeria who has to perform in front of the goal if the team is to achieve success this year. The Nigerian striker has been turning up for the Oranje since 2011 and the club has shown faith in the striker by retaining him this season.

Dempo Sign Japanese Defender Shinnosuke Honda To Complete Their Foreign Quota

Shinnosuke Honda

Shinnosuke Honda

Dempo SC too have reinforced their back line after signing on their fourth foreign player, Shinnosuke Honda to partner Simon Colosimo at the back. The Japanese defender began his career for Jubilo Iwata and then went on to play for Burriam United F.C after a three year spell at the club. Only 23 years old and standing tall at a height of 6’1 inches, Honda will add experience to the Dempo squad and provide stability to the defence which has been inconsistent last season. Dempo were hesitant on signing Honda but an injury to Cressan Antao in  the just concluded Goa League match against SESA coupled with the fact that Mahesh Gawli is still to return to full match fitness meant that Dempo decided to sign the lanky defender.

Having played in the Thai Premier League, Honda will be expected to get better with age and manager Arthur Papas is sure to exploit his new talent to the maximum. His trial at Dempo lasted a week at the end of which the player proved himself worthy of a contract. The opportunity to play for the Goan club will prove to be beneficial for the player as he will get the opportunity to learn from Simon Colosimo, another new arrival at the club. The 34 year old former Manchester City player will be called upon to guide the youngsters in the team and strike a fine partnership with Honda. It now remains to be seen if the Japanese defender can link up well with the other players on the squad specially the other defenders in the team – . Honda’s signing is indeed a timely signing by Dempo and his presence gives a lot of option to coach Arthur Pappas going into the new season.