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Here’s all you need to know about NorthEast United FC
The northeastern states of India are believed to be the strongest pillars and backbone of India and its association with football.
Dr Talimeran Ao, the first-ever captain of the National team (post-independence), came from a northeastern state, Nagaland, to be specific. There has been a tremendous contribution from the northeastern states, in terms of talents, when it comes to national team and national football leagues as well.
With the sixth season if Hero Indian Super League approaching, here is of journey NorthEast United FC, a team representing eight north-eastern states.
Birth of NorthEast United FC (NEUFC)
Upon ISL’s advent, eight cities were selected. The NEUFC club, led by John Abraham (actor-producer) in partnership with Shillong Lajong FC, an Indian professional football club based in Shillong, won the bid for Guwahati franchise.
On 13 April 2014 all the eight northeastern states were moulded and brought together as NorthEast United FC for the Indian Super League.
What adds to the glory is the fact that NorthEast United FC upon its birth became the first team in the world which represented a region, unlike other teams which represent a particular city.
NEUFC now serves as a platform for talents across the eight states to portray their skills at both national and international level.
The logo of NEUFC is a visual representation of the club structure. The eight stars at the top represent the eight states.
Home Ground: NorthEast United FC
Indira Gandhi Stadium, Guwahati is the home ground for NorthEast United FC. The arena has a capacity of approximately 24,000. Inaugurated in 2007, it witnessed its record attendance of 32,844 back in the ISL game between NEUFC and Chennaiyin FC in 2016.
The first drafts
Joan Capdveila, a Spanish player who was the part of Spanish squad which won the UEFA Euro in 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World cup, was signed as the first marquee player for the club.
The team signed Ricki Lloyd Herbert, a former New Zealand footballer and coach of New Zealand national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup as their first manager.
Journey through the seasons: NorthEast United FC
The first season of Hero ISL was not a good beginning for NEUFC. The team barely managed to win 3 and draw 6 out of the 14 games and hence, ended up being at the bottom of the table.
The only visible achievement was that of Koke topping the list of most assists for the Northeast United FC.
The team signed Simão Sabrosa, a former Portuguese international player, as a marquee player.
The team roped in César Alejandro Farías, a Venezuelan, as the new manager. Farías was the first manager to have taken Venezuela to the semi-final stage of Copa America.
The team had an arid start to the season with three consecutive losses. With the return of Sabrosa in the fourth game, who was injured until the team broke the winless jinx.
The team posed a decent performance in the next few games, but a few hiccups cost the team a place in the top 4 big time.
NEUFC ended season two at fifth position in the table with 6 wins, and 2 draws in 14 games.
The team announced Sérgio Farias as its manager for season 3 initially. Due to reasons, Farias relinquished his role as manager and joined his former club Suphanburi FC. The team signed Nelo Vingada, a Portuguese football manager. The team again missed the chance at the semi-finals by losing to Kerala Blasters in a must-win the game and ended at fifth position in the points table.
The season turned out to be a nightmare for NEUFC. The team appointed João Carlos Pires de Deus as the new manager. The team ended up performing disastrously with only 3 wins, and 2 draws in 18 games. In its match against FC Pune City on matchday 7, it was handed a 5-0 thrashing. The team lost all of its last 5 matches and stood at the bottom of the points table.
This season proved to be the most beautiful chapter in the history of NorthEast United FC’s performance in ISL. Under the new Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie, the team qualified for the semi-finals for the first time in its history. The team won its first leg semi-final against Bengaluru FC (2-1). The temperament in the second leg wasn’t visible as the team lost to Bengaluru FC (0-3). Eventually, the team lost the final spot on a 2-4 aggregate. Bartholomew Ogbeche was the top scorer for the team and second overall top scorer of the tournament.
The team has roped in Robert Jarni, former Croatian Youth National coach and Croatian World Cup bronze medalist, as the head coach for the upcoming season. Jarni has made three FIFA World Cup Final appearances. One in 1990 while playing with Yugoslavia and the other two in 1998 and 2002 while playing with Croatia.
Captain of NorthEast United FC
The team has recently announced that Jose Leudo, a Colombian footballer, will be leading the side in ISL 2018-19 i.e. season 6. The 25-year-old plies his trade as a midfielder. Leudo started his professional career for his boyhood club Boyacá Chicó in Columbian league. He has been playing in the Columbian league for over a decade before switching to NEUFC. Apart from playing domestic football, Leudo has also represented his country at Under 20, 21, and 23 levels.
— NorthEast United FC (@NEUtdFC) October 19, 2019
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