Full name: Delhi Dynamos Football Club
Ground: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi
Owner: GMS Inc.; DEN Networks
Manager: Miguel Angel Portugal
The story so far…
The early story of the Delhi Dynamos had a significant Dutch flavour, with an official partnership with Eredivisie club Feyenoord, Harm van Veldhoven as head coach and several Dutch players including Hans Mulden and Stijn Houben.
The most significant aspect of their early history was of course marquee signing Alessandro Del Piero, the Italy and Juventus legend, who unfortunately couldn’t fire them to success, as they finished the first season in fifth place, missing out on the playoffs.
They managed to reach the playoffs in both the 2015 and 2016 season, failing however to reach the final on both occasions, though they have played some sumptuous football in both years, scoring for fun in last year’s edition thanks to the heroics of Brazilian forward Marcelinho, now of Pune City FC (their opponents in the first game of the season).
The club has managed to successfully integrate marquee signings into their squads, with Florent Malouda and John Arne Riise doing well for them in previous years. The club has also had high profile managers in the last two seasons – Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos in 2015 and Gianluca Zambrotta in 2016.
The club’s colours are a simple all-white for both shirt and shorts, with blue and red trimmings on collars and cuffs.
Delhi residents are hardly ones to shrink from making some noise, but the club’s fanbase doesn’t have a distinct identity thus far. One potential problem for the club is that the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium capacity is never quite going to be filled for their games, but with some improved coordination and maybe some more initiatives by the club, there is certainly potential to make the fans a useful asset to the team – it is after all based in the nation’s capital.
Chances this season…
The Lions are faced with an uphill task this season having lost all their key players from last season. Marcelinho, Marcos Tebar and Kean Lewis have all moved to FC Pune City, while Florent Malouda and John Arne Riise are no longer with them either. Golden Boot winner Marcelinho’s goals will be particularly difficult to replace, though at least the club has managed to secure the services of experienced Nigerian forward Kalu Uche (ironically once of Pune City) who the team is likely to be built around.
The good thing for the team is that in manager Miguel Angel Portugal they have secured a helmsman who’s been there and done it all, having won La Liga with Real Madrid as a player, coached the Castilla side, had solid stints with Racing Santander and won the Bolivian league with Bolivar in 2013.
Portugal has some solid defensive stalwarts to work with in Brazilian defensive midfielder Paulinho Dias (formerly of Cruzeiro and the tragic Chapocoense) and Venezuelan centre-back Gabriel Cichero (who has played for the New York Red Bulls, Newell’s Old Boys and Ligue 1 side FC Nantes). Spaniard Edu Moya will probably anchor the midfield with Dias, though lack of quality in defence may require him to
But beyond these three (and Uche), the manager’s other most promising players are youngsters Lallianzuala Chhangte (a 20-year-old forward who got an Indian senior call-up as a teenager) and Jayananda Singh (an 18-year-old centre-back who has captained Indian youth squads), which speaks volumes about the difficulties the club faces.
It’s not easy to see how Portugal will line up this squad, though a 4-2-3-1 seems a safe option. It’s even tougher to see the team doing much more than trying to avoid propping up the division, but with some good tactical planning, may be able to make a push for a mid-table finish that can be used to bolster recruitment for next season.