As the crowd starting vanishing from the picturesque Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the capital early December last year, the symphony of dissatisfaction could almost be heard among the fans. Another insipid draw against the eventual winners, Atletico de Kolkata left the DEN funded team with a mountain to climb. Finishing fifth in the table (a point off the semi final spot), Delhi Dynamos management learnt there was a lot of scope of improvement and substantial changes were to be kicked in to present a decent challenge next year.
And so it was to be the case as India prepares for the second edition of Indian Super League. It was not only the logo which went under the knife, the dynamos made some drastic changes to both their squad as well as the management. Roll in Prashant Aggarwal, the brains behind Chennaiyin FC striking crucial deals last season. Roberto Carlos was appointed as the player a manager marquee signing and the squad underwent a host of changes from the last season.
Goalkeepers: Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Toni Doblas, Ravi Kumar
Delhi Dynamos were quick to part ways with Van Hout, one of the tallest goalkeepers in the league last season, after the Dutch custodiana s average performance last year. In came Toni Doblas, a former Copa Del Rey winner with Real Betis and he offers his massive big game experience to the squad. He could be seen fighting for his place with Subhashish Roy as the Bengali lad switched loyalty from Atletico de Kolkata. Subhashish has played for almost all the top clubs to ply their trade on Indian soil and could prove to be more than handy when put up against teams flaunting local strikers on the squad list. Ravi Kumar completes the set with another shrewd goalkeeper signing. The sporting club de goa custodian has come through the ranks and is now a regular at the Goan club.
Defenders: Roberto Carlos (Coach), John Arne Riise, Cichao, Anwar Ali, Anas, Prabir Das, Naoba Singh, Robert Lathlamanua, Serginho Greene
Albeit former India international Anwar Ali did put in steely performances for The Lions last season, there was an eminent need to strengthen the backline, and so was taken care of this season. Former Liverpool legend John Arne Riise was added to the ranks with Roberto Carlos keeping the option of playing himself on the left flank. Anas Edathodika was also roped in to bolster the defence- the Pune FC lad didn’t have the best of seasons with Pune FC and would be looking to make a mark and earn a . Another foreign name on the defensive side for the Delhi team is Chichao- former Corinthians & Flamengo center back would be expected to add ISL to his ever so impressive honors. Naoba Singh and Robert Lathlamanua were retained owing to their impressive performances from the last season and fourth addition to the home grown talent list is the Dempo defender Prabir Das. All in all the defense looks much more robust as compared to last season with apt mixture of youth and experience.
Midfielders: Hans Mulder, Francis Fernandes, G Vignesh, Zodingliana Ralte, Souvik Chakraborty, Snehaj Singh, Gustavo, Florent Malouda, Shylo.
The Lions have done a major makeover in the middle of the park. After retaining Francis Fernandes, Souvik Chakraborty, last yeara s stand out player Hans Mulder and Gustavo- the side from Delhi raised some eyebrows after securing the sign of former Chelsea player Florent Malouda. The French international would be looking to bring a sense of calm in the middle, orchestrating the moves alongside Hans Mulder. Gustavo scored maximum goals for the Delhi team last time out and would be looking to cement his spot from the start. Home grown talents like Shehnaj Singh, Ralte and Vignesh could also be seen thrown into the mix when situation calls.
Forwards: Vincius Ferreria, Robin Singh, Adil Nabi, Seminlen Doungel, Richard Gadze
It is a completely new look strike force for the Dynamos as none of the last yearsa forwards were retained. The stand out signing upfront was that of the loanee from the premier league side West Brom- Adil Nabi. Last yeara s young player of the year at the Hawthorns, he would be expected to spearhead the attack for the team. Another big signing on the Draft day was that of India Striker Robin Singh. The tall Delhi lad would be looking to make amends for his hometown side as he aims to top up his decent performances in the international circuit for India. Joining Robin upfront would be his new Bengaluru FC team mate Doungel. Brazillian Vincius Ferreria and Ghanain Gadze make up the rest of the front line squad this season.
Delhi Dynamos could be seen deploying a 4-1-3-2 attacking formation, with Nabi and Robin spearheading the striking department. Hans Mulder could be seen in his usual holding role, screening all the moves through the heart of the defence. Gustavo’s pace would surely make him one of the initial names on the team sheet. Roberto Carlos will be surely in for a tough time when it comes to jotting down the final eleven for the opening matches, especially after a dismal stint in Sweden.
Frankly Roberto Carlos’ CV doesnt paint a very exciting picture as a manager. After two fairly unsuccessful stints in Turkey, the brazillian legend signed a big money contract with The Pride from Delhi. The Pre-season friendlies in Sweden have not gone according to plan for Roberto, but his managerial prowess will be put to stern test as ISL rolls on.
Delhi Dynamos is the only team in the ISL roaster to have gone so many changes, cascading from the Admin to the team physio. There is an air of expectation in the capital, with the new and aggressive look to almost everything associated with the club topping up the excitement. It is yet to be seen that whether the off field aggression drives the team to glory this season.