Must have been a hectic schedule for the HAL football management for more than a week! The coaching staff invited the probable players on HAL ground early last week.
A melee of sorts broke out at the ground with 45-odd outstation players joining the fray. The selection trial pulled in 10 goalkeepers, too much on the platter for a team that played with only 2 keepers for most of previous season.
The second phase of the selection trial saw a trimmed outfit of 20 players, primarily from inoperative JCT, Sporting Club de Goa, Churchill Brothers, Sikkim United FC, and Kolkata clubs. These players will continue to train for another week.
Per manager Muralidharan, the final cut, comprising of 16-17 players will be selected not before Monday (next week), and the contract will be rolled out in next 3-4 days of time. Also, Muralidharan hinted that few players from the current team will get the axe. However, he refrained from naming them, as this might furthermore impact the performance of the ongoing BDFA super division commitment.
HAL in all probability will go for 4 keepers this season. While Pramod continues to don the gloves for Aircraftmen, veteran Sunder Rajan is ‘certain’ to join HAL, replacing the void created by the untimely death of his nephew Arun Kumar. Former HAL keeper Amar Deb, Air India keeper Souvik Mondal, and another keeper from a Kolkata will vie for the rest of the keeper slot.
After spending 3 seasons in Goa, Manipuri duo Konsam Ajitkumar Singh (Churchill Brothers) and Thoudam Joychandra Singh (Sporting Club de Goa) seen working hard to get back to an I-League team.
For the most part, the team rooster should have healthy 36-40 players. Definitely a positive sign in last year’s comparison - the team only had a maximum of 26 players at any given time and royally suffered in marathon I-league.