Jamshedpur FC came into being just two years ago in 2017 when owners Tata Steel Group won the bid to enter the Indian Super League. A team of its own was long overdue for the city, or at least the Tata Football Academy, that has produced many players for India over the years.
In Jamshedpur FC, TFA have an outlet to fully utilise their talent-churning ability and be more than just a feeder to the other Indian clubs. The side have managed to also create interest in the city with a strong footballing base and home support, something not all teams in the competition enjoy.
Jamshedpur FC have made a respectable start to life in the Indian Super League. Despite failing to qualify for the semi-finals yet, they have put up respectable displays, missing out on last four by a whisker in each of the last two seasons.
Built on defensive stability by their first-ever coach Steve Coppell, Jamshedpur took the style forward under coach Spanish coach Cesar Ferrando last season and are set to do so again under new coach Antonio Iriondo, another Spaniard.
The men from the steel city have shown plenty of steel in their play, conceding just 39 goals in their 36 games in the competition so far. Their problem, though, has been the lack of goals upfront. The club aims to address this with attacking recruits from Spain.
What’s changed for 2019-20 season
Arrivals: Goalkeepers: Niraj Kumar, Amrit Gope; Defenders: Joyner Lourenco, Jitendra Singh, Narendra Gahlot, Keegan Pereira; Midfielders: Piti, Aitor Monroy, Noe Acosta, Isaac Vanmalsawma; Forwards: CK Vineeth, Sergio Castel
Departures: Goalkeepers: Subhashish Roy Chowdhury; Defenders: Raju Gaikwad, Dhanachandra Singh, Pratik Chowdhary; Midfielders: Michael Soosairaj, Sergio Cidoncha, Mario Arques, Asifullah Khan, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Sanjay Balmuchu; Forwards: Pablo Morgado
Jamshedpur have seen almost an overhaul of their midfield. Michael Soosairaj, Sergio Cidoncha and Mario Arques have all left the club. Noe Acosta and Aitor Monroy have come in from Spain, with an aim to establish the new coach’s playing style. Spaniard Piti, who plays in a more advanced midfield role, has also been added to bolster their weak attack.
Jamshedpur have done well with their Indian recruits as well, signing Indian football team centre-back Narender Gahlot, forward CK Vineeth and Isaac Vanmalsawma from Chennaiyin.
The biggest signing for Jamshedpur though is Atletico Madrid’s reserve team forward Sergio Castel, who is set to lead the line for them this season.
The existing crop of Indian players that include Amarjit Singh, Sumeet Passi, Aniket Jadhav, and Farukh Choudhary gives the squad a balanced look. The additions of Keegan Perreira and Joyner Lourenco are set to strengthen their defence after departures of Dhanachandra Singh and Pratik Chaudhari.
With the Brazilian Memo expected to lead the side, Jamshedpur seem to have a fine blend of youth and experience.
Jamshedpur have the cream among the young Indian players who are just starting to have an impact on the international stage. Midfielder Amarjit Singh was coach Igor Stimac’s first choice in the centre of the park and is expected to play a big part this season for the Iriondo’s men.
The key factor that could help the young players perform better is the core of experienced players that form the spine of the side. In goalkeeper Subrata Pal, centre-back Tiri and midfielder Memo, Jamshedpur have the stability of experience to allow the youngsters to play more freely.
Jamshedpur have recruited many foreign players in key positions and the way they adjust to the league could go a long way in determining how far they go this campaign. There are many players from Spain playing in the ISL, but with Jamshedpur having at least three new players playing in key positions, the performance of those players would make a difference.
Iriondo’s men thus may struggle at the start trying to get the new recruits used to the league and surroundings. The attack too looks heavily dependent on forward Castel. The likes of Chaudhari, Passi have shown the talent, but are yet to hit their stride in the ISL. CK Vineeth who is coming on the back of a disappointing campaign would need to improve if he is to make a positive impact on the league again.
Coach’s profile: Antonio Iriondo
Iriondo is not a big name in football management, but has vast experience of working in the lower tiers of Spanish football. He has coached clubs like CD Toledo, CD San Fernando and Rayo Majadahonda in the Segunda Division B in Spain.
To help him get up to terms with the Indian game, Jamshedpur have brought in former Kerala Blasters midfielder Pulga and ex-Indian team winger Steven Dias.
With a host of attacking signings, Jamshedpur FC under Iriondo are expected to play a more attacking brand of football.
Goalkeepers: Subrata Pal, Amrit Gope, Rafique Ali, Niraj Kumar
Defenders: Augustine Fernandes, Tiri, Jitendra Singh, Joyner Lourenco, Karan Amin, Keagen Pereira, Narender Gahlot, Robin Gurung,
Midfielders: Aitor Monroy, Amarjit Singh, Bikash Jairu, Memo Moura, Piti, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Mobashir Rahman, Noe Acosta
Forwards: Aniket Jadhav, CK Vineeth, Farukh Choudhary, Sergio Castel, Sumeet Passi