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National Team Selection: Comparing The Deserving & The Non-Deserving

Sunday, 14 May 2017|Abhishek Mukherjee

Stephen Constantine had earlier said, the door to the National Team is open for any players who performs. But it seems, his door is wide open , to such an extent that even those who haven't performed were drafted into the team, leaving out some really deserving ones.

Anyone who has watched the I-league and the Federation cup are bemused at the exclusion of players like Jayesh Rane, Lalramchullova, Zohmingliana Ralte, Brandon Fernandes, Balwant Singh.

If Constantine had been watching the I-league keenly, surely these selection blunders could have been avoided. But still, he must have got some statistical info at his disposal to make up for it. We understand, it's not easy watching the I-League unless you are a hardcore Indian football fan.

But ignoring both performances and statistics, evidently shows that the selection is not fair and vested interest can be smelt.

Let us look at how some of the players who were selected by Stephen, performed in the I-League.

Fuganco Cardozo (LB)- Featuring only 437 minutes for Churchill Brothers in the I-League this season, Cardozo's call-up was indeed a surprising one. Cardozo had committed 7 fouls in his short span of 437 minutes. With a 52% successful tackle rate, the stats don’t point in the direction of a good selection.

Jackichand Singh(RM/LM)- We all know how lethal Jackichand Singh can be when in form. However, Jacki has hardly featured for East Bengal this season as he was not a part of Trevor Morgan's plans. Having only played 249 minutes in the I-League Jacki failed to score or assist a single goal. However, Jacki did play well for India against Cambodia, so there is not much to complain about his selection.

Seityasen Singh (RM)- Much like his old team-mate Jackichand, Seityasen was also under-utilised in the I-League. Playing just 454 minutes in the I-League, Singh however managed to garner two assists to his name but failed to impress his gaffer Dave Rogers but was enough to impress Stephen.

Cavin Lobo (CM)- Cavin Lobo is another player brimming with talent but has been unlucky with injuries. He featured just once for East Bengal in the I-League this season, before being subbed off in the 35th minute. Guess 35 minutes was enough to convince Stephen Constantine.

Md Rafique (CAM)- With just 329 minutes to his name in this year's I-League, Md Rafique is another surprising selection. Rafique was seen searching for form in the I-League and was mostly used as a backup for Wedson Aneslme. Rafique just managed one assist in the I-League and was heavily criticised by the East Bengal faithful.

Daniel Lahlimpuia (ST)- With just 2 goals in 933 minutes for Bengaluru FC, Daniel Lahlimpuia is another questionable selection with players' like Balwant Singh missing out on the probables list. 2 goals is just not enough to warrant a place into the probables.

Players who deserved a call-up
Now let us look at the players who deserved a call-up but were criminally left out by Stephen Constantine.

Jayesh Rane(CAM/RW)- Jayesh Rane had a special season with Aizawl FC. One of the orchestrators of Aizawl's midfield, Rane has been a force to reckon with. Rane played for 1626 minutes in the I-League scoring 2 and assisting 4 in the process. With a passing accuracy of 73% and 1.3 key passes on an average in the 90 minutes, Rane should have walked into the squad.

Brandon Fernandes (RM/LM)- The omission of Brandon Fernandes is indeed a surprising one. Brandon had a brilliant season with Churchill, where he garnered 3 goals and 5 assists. Also with 2.2 key passes per game, Brandon could have been an asset for India, if selected especially with Sunil Chhetri doubtful.

Balwant Singh (ST)- 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. With 4 goals and 2 assists in the I-League for Mohun Bagan, Balwant should have been an automatic choice in the National Team.

LalramChullova(RB/LB)- Chullova had a fantastic season with Aizawl FC and could have easily made it to the National Team. Stephen selected as many as 5 left backs and just 1 proper right back in Pritam Kotal. Chullova with his pace and defensive prowess could have easily been selected as a backup for Kotal. Chullova played 1091 minutes for Aizawl in the league, scoring and assisting a goal in the process. He has a passing accuracy of 73% and wins 62% of his challenges on an average.

Zohmingliana Ralte(CB)- Zohmingliana Ralte was a rock at the back for Aizawl in the recently concluded I-League. Winning 62% of the challenges, Ralte is also a commanding force in the air. Having a passing accuracy of 76%, Ralte is one of those ball playing centre-backs. His 83rd minute goal against Mohun Bagan is the very reason behind Aizawl's fairytale.