Hyderabad has always made a significant contribution to Indian football and had been crying out for a team of its own. The opportunity finally came when FC Pune City who decided to shut down operations and needed to be replaced.
Varun Tripuraneni and Vijay Madduri along with actor Rana Daggubati became the owners of the new franchise that picked Hyderabad as its home base. The newly-formed Hyderabad FC though didn’t get a chance to have the best of Indian talent in their team as they had to largely inherit the squad of FC Pune City.
They added a few foreign players to the ranks to forge a team for the new season, but there wasn’t enough time for the owners to get everything in place for the new season. It reflected in their performances as they finished bottom of the pile in their debut campaign. They accumulated just ten points and managed only two wins all season.
Hyderabad FC season stats 2019-20
|Team||Matches Played||Goals scored||Goals conceded||Goal difference||Clean Sheets|
|League's best||18|| 46 (Goa)||11 (Bengaluru)||+23 (Goa0||10 (Bengaluru)|
Hyderabad’s season was largely marred by injuries to with the likes of Bobo and Rafael Marquez missing the start of the season. In December coach Phil Brown mentioned that he had all 25 players available for the first time, 11 out of which were working with him for the first time that season.
With key players missing, Hyderabad got off to a bad start and could never really recover from the blow. It was always going to be challenging for the newcomers to make a mark in their first season, but injuries made it much harder for them. In most games, Hyderabad weren’t able to field a full quota of foreign players
Hyderabad were by far the worst defensive team in the league this season and conceded 39 goals. They failed to keep a single clean sheet in the campaign and this was largely the reason for their dismal season.
Matthew Kilgallon was the only foreign defender in the side and the lack of overseas talent at the back proved to be evident. Even Adil Khan had to be deployed in defence to make up for the shortage of numbers in that area which led to their midfield being weakened.
Javier Lopez replaced Phil Brown in the hot seat mid-season but it failed to have the desired impact as Hyderabad’s squad was lacking in almost every department.
When a team loses 67 per cent of its matches in a season as Hyderabad did, very few things are in place.
Key Player: Marcelinho
The Brazilian was the shining light of the Hyderabad season top-scoring for the team with seven goals. He caused opponents problems in every game he played but lacked support from his teammates. He was instrumental in the two wins the team picked up this season, scoring thrice in those matches.
Marcelinho is likely to have loads of offers from other teams but Hyderabad must begin their rebuilding process by securing their talismanic forward.
Best Indian player: Adil Khan
The Indian centre-back was the most consistent performer for Hyderabad this season. Brown used him as a defensive midfielder in the early part of the campaign but Lopez played him as a defender. He excelled in both roles and was a mainstay in the team. Like Marcelinho, Adil Khan should be the first Indian player they should look to tie down.
Apart from Adil, Liston Colaco also impressed for Hyderabad having joined from FC Goa and signed off for the season with a brace in their 5-1 thrashing of NorthEast United. His performances earned Colaco a place in Igor Stimac’s 43-man probables for the Qatar World Cup qualifier.
What next for Hyderabad?
The franchise have already taken a big step towards putting up a better showing next season having secured the services of former Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca.
The Spaniard comes with huge experience having worked as an assistant to Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona. He also led Bengaluru FC to the AFC Cup final and knows Indian and Asian football well.
Hyderabad need to start afresh when it comes to their foreign recruits and sign a fresh batch of players that would come to India with a clean slate. Getting the foreign core of the team right is crucial for success in the ISL and Hyderabad will have to spend the off-season in scouting the best talent.
As far as their Indian contingent goes, they have some good players in Adil Khan, Colaco and Nikhil Poojary and retaining them will be important.