The story surrounding the 2021-22 Indian Super League champion team, Hyderabad FC, is a captivating tale. Transitioning from being a prominent club for emerging talents in the 2020-21 season to securing the ISL trophy the following year, Hyderabad embodied the Nizams’ ambition to rejuvenate their longstanding football legacy. Despite public knowledge of internal challenges leading up to the season, financial issues have plagued the club since 2022. Football Sports Development Limited, the league’s owner, extended financial assistance, which temporarily alleviated the club’s financial woes. Nevertheless, evident differences between the then-coach, Manolo Marquez, and the management surfaced during press conferences, and HFC was unable to recover from the escalating crisis.
Statement of Deccan Legion
— Deccan Legion (@DeccanLegion) December 31, 2023
Skipping ahead to the Durand Cup 2023, Conor Nestor, Thangboi Singto, and Shameel Chembakath assumed leadership roles for the team. Nonetheless, the internal dynamics did not mirror the positive external image.
Upon the removal of the transfer ban, the club successfully persuaded its players to participate in the Durand Cup. Among those discontented were the high-profile foreign recruits, facing the nightmarish scenario of relocating to a new country without receiving their due payments. The initial act of dissent came from Jonathan Moya, who adamantly refused to travel to Kolkata for an away game. The club employed various tactics, including promises of delayed salary payments and even exploiting the Chennai cyclone as an excuse. However, as the players’ patience wore thin, Jonathan Moya, Philippe Amorim, and Oswaldo decided to part ways with the club. Additionally, several Indian players have submitted letters urging the termination of their contracts, as the final deadline for settling outstanding payments has lapsed.
Apart from financial concerns, there are additional challenges in Conor Nestor’s potential return to the club. After being relieved of his duties as head coach, Thangboi Singto took over, starting from the match against NorthEast United FC. What made this situation unique was the club’s failure to formally communicate the decision to Conor. The news was conveyed to the players by club captain Joao Victor through a WhatsApp group message, effectively ending Nestor’s tenure. Under Singto’s leadership, training sessions were shortened, and players like Mark and Gurmeet were excluded from the starting lineup without clear explanations. Kattimani was sidelined due to an injury, while Gurmeet, despite being in good form, remained on the bench.
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