With the countdown for the Super Cup down to one hand, the excitement starts to grow. Even though it was just technically an international break, it felt so much worse.
The games coming back will bring joy to fans of all but two Indian Super League teams, with Delhi and NorthEast disappointingly failing to qualify from there play-off games.
Along with the Super Cup games, the Player of the Week will return, nothing like welcoming back a home comfort.
Anyway down to todays business at hand, our Young Player of the Season, or the Emerging Player as the ISL like to call it. We sometimes like to give our award to a separate player to what the official award goes to, and this time is no different. After the official award for Emerging Player went to Lalruatthara, our award goes to Jerry Lalrinzuala.
Maiden Season Success
The Chennaiyin defender enjoyed his first full season in the ISL to say the least. Playing in 20 games, he enjoyed a fruitful partnership in an experienced back line with the likes of Inigo Calderon and Mailson Alves.
The 19 year old only played 13 games last season and started to establish himself as a reliable young Indian full back. He assisted two attacking down the flanks in his first year and even scored a great free-kick.
Being a homegrown talent, there could be more pressure on Jerry’s shoulders but you couldn’t see that on him, the confidence in which he keeps the ball and also puts in the hard miles to create a secure defence which ultimately brought Chennaiyin their second title.
Playing all but one game this year, Lalrinzuala became the go too man down the left hand side and didn’t look like a 19 year-old in his experienced looking performances. Making 23 interceptions and 42 clearances across the season are impressive numbers and will certainly be pushing Lalruatthara for the Indian left-back spot in the coming years.
In terms of competition, there were many names we could mention. Kerala introduced a young midfielder, Deependra Negi towards the end of the season and he took his chance. He scored and made a real impact to the Blasters midfield in his 150 minutes played.
I know what you’re thinking, a player who only played three times can not be considered for the award, so lets move onto a more serious candidate.
Jamshedpur forward, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, played 16 times in this years ISL. He made his debut against NorthEast on the opening day, a team he had spent time at on loan the year before.
Jerry only scored once this season but gave Jamshedpur’s lacklustre attack something to cheer about, a young emerging player who they could really take on and build a team around some day? Maybe. His one goal did have some history surrounding it, his strike against Kerala after just 22 seconds became the fastest goal ever scored in the ISL.
Unfortunately, numbers and stats mean everything in this award and Lalrinzuala had an impeccable year for Chennaiyin. No one can argue that this round of the Jerry’s goes back to Chennai, maybe next year for Jamshedpur? Who knows.