Hyderabad FC is a new franchise that will be entering the Indian Super League this season as a replacement for the now-defunct FC Pune City.
Owned by Vijay Madduri, a Hyderabad-based businessman and Varun Tripuraneni, the former CEO of Kerala Blasters, the franchise will play its home games at the Gachibowli stadium in the city.
Despite new management and structure, Hyderabad FC have roped in almost the entire FC Pune City squad from last season with a few minor additions.
Phil Brown, who took over as the head coach of the Pune outfit last season has been handed the reigns at the new club as well.
So despite the new set-up, Hyderabad FC will have continuity in the upcoming season.
Team combination for 2019-20 season
Hyderabad FC have made some additions to the FC Pune City contingent they inherited. Nestor Jesus, Deyvison Rogerio Da Silva (Bobo), Giles Barnes, Rafael Lopez Gomez, Matthew Kilgallon, Laldanmawia Ralte have all been roped in for the upcoming season.
Their squad is very attack-heavy with Marcelinho, Bobo and Barnes vying for the centre-forward positions. Behind them, winger Nestor who played a key role in helping Chennai City FC win the I-League title last season will add to the flair.
Indian national team player Nikhil Poojary further adds to their quality on the flanks. In central midfield, Hyderabad are likely to continue with Marko Stankovic but his partner in the centre of the park may depend on where coach Brown decides to use Adil Khan.
With limited defensive options at his disposal, the Englishman may decide to use the Indian in the centre-back position. Khan has been a regular feature in central defence in the national team under Igor Stimac and gives the Hyderabad side good flexibility. If moved into defence, Laldanmawia Ralte could partner Stankovic in midfield.
At the back, a lot will rest on Rafael Gomez and new signing Mathew Kilgallon with the rest of the defenders lacking experience.
Kamaljit Singh and former FC Goa goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani will vie for the spot between the sticks.
For Hyderabad, their greatest strength this season will have to be their attack. With Marcelinho, they carry a major goal threat. Brown will be tempted to double up in attack with the former Brazilian U-20 international Bobo to reduce the burden on Marcelinho.
With Nestor and Poojary on the flanks, they also possess good quality in the wide areas who can help stretch play to provide gaps for Marcelinho and Bobo to exploit.
Hyderabad also possess good bench strength in the form of Barnes and Robin Singh with the latter offering them a different alternative in the attack.
With just seven pure defenders in the squad, Hyderabad is short in that area. Apart from Gomez and Kilgallon, there isn’t much experience in the defensive side of the squad and that could come back to bite the debutants.
Coach: Phil Brown
Brown joined FC Pune City midway through last season and did a decent job in his six games in charge. He won three, drew two and lost just one game.
Brown impressed in English football especially with his stint at Hull City as he took them to the Premier League and helped them avoid relegation.
The Englishman is a charismatic figure and is known to have the ability to get the best out of his players.
Player to watch out for: Adil Khan
It’s been a good year for Khan who has cemented his place in the national team and would be keen to prove his worth in club football. A versatile player, Khan will give Brown options to move his personnel around as per the team’s requirement.
The Goa-born player is also a big goal threat on set-pieces. Having netted for the national team against Bangladesh in the World Cup qualifiers, he would be hoping to keep his run going for Hyderabad FC.
Goalkeepers: Kamaljit Singh, Anuj Kumar, Laxmikant Kattimani
Defenders: Sahil Panwar, Rafael Lopez Gomez, Matthew Kilgallon, Gurtej Singh, Mohammad Yasir, Tarif Akhand, Asish Rai
Midfielders: Adil Ahmed Khan, Sahil Tavora, Deependra Negi, Nestor Jesus Benitez, Marko Stankovic, Shankar Sampingiraj, Laldanmawia Ralte, Rohit Kumar, Gani Nigam, Nikhil Poojary
Forwards: Giles Barnes, Deyvison Rogerio Da Silva (Bobo), Marcelo Leite Pereira (Marcelinho), Abhisek Halder, Robin Singh