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Edathodika, Lyngdoh become the most expensive buys at ISL Draft

Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) chairperson Nita Ambani with the newly-drafted players at the Indian Super League (ISL) domestic players draft in Mumbai, on Sunday.
 MUMBAI, July 23: Defender Anas Edathodika and midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh emerged as the costliest picks for an identical Rs 1.1 crore in the Indian Super League (ISL) domestic players draft here today.

While Edathodika was picked up by new outfit Jamshedpur FC, Eugeneson was snapped up by two-time champions ATK.

Other top picks among the 134 players chosen were goalkeeper Subrata Paul, who was chosen by Jamshedpur for Rs 87 lakh, and right-back Pritam Kotal, grabbed by Delhi Dynamos for Rs 75 lakh.

“He was our No. 1 pick. He also scores goals and should be valuable,” ATK’s coach Teddy Sheringham told reporters when asked about Lyngdoh.

Incidentally, the team’s technical director Ashley Westwood was the coach of ISL debutants Bengaluru FC in the I-League with Lyngdoh in its ranks.

The team also chose India striker Robin Singh for Rs 65 lakh, enabling a reunion with Westwood, under whom he played for Bengaluru FC in the I-League.

Steve Coppell, Jamshedpur FC’s head coach, said, “Picking Indian players is a priority and we will try and match the skeleton of the team. A decision on choosing foreign players will be taken soon. We have some foreign players in the mind. We had terrific and solid players in the pick. Now our job is to cement the team.”

He supported the expansion of league to 10 teams and by two more months.

“There is more responsibility and it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

On Mehtab Hussain’s pick he said, “He is very much the devil and will be determined to make an impact. He has been playing for a long time. I am very pleased to get him.”

Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) chairperson Nita Ambani said that ISL is inspiring youth to take up football as a career.

“It is going to be an exciting new journey, a longer season, kicking off this November. Both in terms of number of matches moving up from 61 to 95 and the duration from two and a half months to five months.

“The longer season will ensure sufficient rest for players between the matches and will help in the quality of play getting better,” Ambani said during the opening address of the players’ draft.

Subrata Paul said, “I am happy to be associated with Tatas (owners of Jamshedpur FC,” he said.

Asked whether he was sure of being picked so early, Paul said, “It’s a tricky question, but I was confident. I will try and give my best to the club.” India’s star striker Sunil Chhetri, who was among those retained by his club ahead of the draft, said that he will miss the presence of Lyngdoh alongside him.

“I will miss him and wish him all the luck,” said Chhetri who used to forge a fine combination with Lyngdoh in I-league for Bengaluru FC. – PTI

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