The 5 Big Mistakes: Players That Should Have Been In Constantine’s Probables
Indian Senior Football team squad selection and surprises go hand in hand. This time was no different. So when Stephen Constantine announced his probables for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, it threw quite a few surprises. Though Constantine claimed it to be a team picked based on performances, the names do not do justice to the statement with quite a few surprising exclusions.
Here we take a look at five players that should have walked into the squad:
DEBJIT MAJUMDER - MOHUN BAGAN
One of the stand-out Indian player in the last 6 months, Debjit Majumder has been on the top of his game since the ISL and has continued with his incredible form in the I-League as well. Debjit was in fine touch in the ISL and was a key figure in Atletico de Kolkata’s second triumph. Not just was he brilliant over the course of the season, making a string of impressive saves, he also saved the crucial Hengbart penalty in the final that allowed Jewel Raja to net the winner.
Even in the I-League, Debjit has conceded just 4 goals in the 879 minutes he has played. This averages to about a goal conceded every 220 minutes, which is almost 2.5 games.
With a save percentage of 85, Debjit has managed to successfully complete all of his 31 interception attempts, putting him in a good stead and making him worthy of being right up in the pecking order. Unfortunately, Constantine had something else in mind and it was not to be for the best keeper playing in India currently.
LALRINDIKA RALTE - EAST BENGAL
The East Bengal captain is another big miss in the list. The diminutive midfielder was another vital cog in the wheel for Atletico de Kolkata. Lalrindika Ralte, fielding his Dika jersey inflicted some severe damage from the left and scored the all-important opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. In addition, Ralte also provided assists helping his team go through and emerge triumphant.
Even in the current season of the I-League, Dika has been a top player in his position, providing 5 assists at an average of 0.6 assists per 90 minutes, and scoring a goal. Ralte possesses one of the better passing success percentages in the league at 78 and has more key passes than anyone in his position. With an average of 2.4 key passes every 90 minutes of the attempted 3.7, Ralte outdoes his fellows in Norde, Chhetri and Quero. Ralte has also been involved with play in scoring attacks 8 times, just behind top scorer Dipanda Dicka, Wedson Anselme and Daryl Duffy.
It has not just been the attacking side of play for him but has also played an important role in providing a defensive cushion. Dika averages 8 tackles per 90 minutes and has successfully put together 4.4 at an average and has been among the best in the league.
Having been a revelation this season, Ralte is definitely one that warranted a place in the squad.
LALHMANNGAIHSANGA (SENA) RALTE - BENGALURU FC
Sena Ralte is a name synonymous with power packed performance. The former Royal Wahingdoh left-back has sprung to life in the last 6-7 months, doing exceedingly well for Mumbai City FC. He was an essential member of one of the meanest defences of the ISL and in addition, provided ammunition upfront.
Ralte was among the goals and assists in the ISL and began his new journey in the I-League with Bengaluru FC with a 30-yard scorcher. Though he couldn’t add to the tally, Ralte has been fairly impressive if not at his usual best for Bengaluru FC.
A player capable of playing fluid football, Ralte averages most passes for a left-back despite not playing 90 minutes of each game also possesses one of the best key passes ratio in the position.
A name definitely among the top 2-3 left-backs in the country; given the names on the list, Ralte is a surprise miss.
JAYESH RANE - AIZAWL FC
The impressive youngster has raised an eyebrow to many on not being named in the probables list for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. Rane has been a force to reckon with and has been a consistent performer over the past couple of years in both the ISL and the I-League.
While Rane got to fame last season with Chennaiyin, being a figure in the destructive front three of Chennaiyin FC, he kept his consistency levels high and brought his A-game to the I-League as well.
Rane made a switch to Aizawl FC this season and has been important for the Khalid Jamil managed side. Though his assists and goals stats both read 2 with the ball hitting the post once, he adds much more than that to the team, drawing out defenders and creating spaces for his fellow players. Rane has been a part of 6 goal scoring attacks and is just behind Dika, Robin and CK Vineeth among the Indians.
Rane has also tested the keeper quite often, a rare trait among the Indians, firing as many as 24 shots goalwards.
With his dynamic style and the flair that he brings along, he would have added a new dimension to this Indian side.
BALWANT SINGH - MOHUN BAGAN
One of the finest No. 9’s in the country, Balwant has the rare capability of holding the ball up, making runs into spaces and finding the back of the net. Balwant is good in both air and on the ground and has been among the goals more often than not.
Having been plagued with injuries, Balwant couldn’t feature much in the ISL but despite the favoured duo Jeje and Duffy getting more starts for Bagan, Balwant has scored 3 goals at an average of 0.8 per 90 minutes and also has an assist to his name. With a total of 4 goals and assists, Balwant averages 1 goal scoring contribution in 90 minutes which makes him one of the best-attacking talents in the league.
Balwant has most key passes for a forward and by a fair distance, averaging 3.3 per 90 minutes. If not for Mohun Bagan’s choices in the attacking third, Balwant would walk into any other side as a regular starter.
A striker that adds much more value than a couple of names in the list, Balwant is another trick that Constantine probably missed.