Football - July 22, 2020

5 Potential replacements of Sunil Chhetri


The Indian football team is yet to find a successor for the living legend Sunil Chhetri. Veteran carried the entire Indian team on his shoulders and became India’s leading goal scorer at the international level. Chhetri is almost 36 now and still Indian team relies heavily on him but what will happen to Indian attack in post-Chhetri era? Here we are presenting top 5 potential replacements for captain fantastic.

Potential replacements for Sunil Chhetri

5. Aman Chetri 

5 Potential replacements of Sunil Chhetri

No no, he is not from Sunil’s family but his father was former footballer too. Aman is 18 year old boy from Guwahati (Assam) and well known among Indian football fans for his injury comeback and goals. He has a pacy style of play and active record on goal sheets.

Aman was part of Indian side which participated in 2016 AFC U-16 Championship. He earned place in AIFF Elite Academy batch that was preparing for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup but unfortunately an ACL injury forced him out of U-17 World Cup.

Aman made a comeback in Indian side at COTIF U-20 Cup 2018 and was part of the team that won against mighty Argentina U-20. He was signed by two-time ISL champions Chennaiyin FC same year and became regular member of Chennaiyin FC U-18 side and reserves. Aman scored seven goals in nine appearances including hat-tricks of goals and assists for U-18 team. Aman proved that he deserves more playing time at higher level resulting Machans loaned him to Indian Arrows side for I-League 2019-20 season and he scored five goals in five appearances for Arrows. Chennaiyin management eyeing him as long-term replacement for Jeje Lalpekhlua.
Early to predict his future at International level but his supreme talent hints something big.

4. Himanshu Jangra 

5 Potential replacements of Sunil Chhetri
15 year old boy from Hisar (Haryana) is product of Minerva Punjab Academy which has history of producing great youngsters. He has all the qualities of a modern day striker. Himanshu possesses total football mentality with great pace and striking abilities.

His breakthrough performance came while representing U-15 Indian side in 2019 SAFF U-15 Championship where he scored seven goals in just three appearances including two hat-tricks and a goal in finals against Nepal. India U-15 clinched Championship and Himanshu secured golden boot. His heading capacities are bright assets, for instance he scored hat-trick of headers on 4-0 victory over Bangladesh in SAFF Championship.

Himanshu made his first and only appearance for Punjab FC reserves against AU Rajasthan in 2nd Division of I-League where he scored brace. This impressive performance earned him promotion to senior team in I-League where he made five appearances and impressed everyone including Ranjit Bajaj. India U-15 coach Bibiano Fernandes also utilised him at other positions like left-wing forward and attacking midfielder.

Himanshu Jangra is on the radar of several top ISL clubs of India and his big success in short period proves he is definitely star in the making for India.

3. Aniket Jadhav 

5 Potential replacements of Sunil Chhetri
He is already well known face among Indian fans since 2017, gained fame for his wonderful speed and skills in 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. 20 year old from Kolhapur (Maharashtra) is defunct Pune FC product. Aniket was part of AIFF Elite Academy batch and went on to play for India U-17 in 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Aniket joined Indian Arrows side after the tournament in I-League 2017-18 season. On his debut, he scored brace against Chennai City FC in 3-0 victory on season opener for Indian Arrows.
On March 2019, he joined english club Blackburn Rovers for a 3 month training spell at their academy.

Aniket was praised by Blackburn head coach Tony Mowbray for his attitude, energy and enthusiasm but former Middlesbrough defender stated that he needs certain improvements in gameplay. After Blackburn trial, Aniket joined ISL club Jamshedpur FC for 2019-20 season and made 11 appearances for first team.

Aniket Jadhav shows great maturity and he deserves to play in Indian top flight football. Soon he will knock the doors of Indian team.

2. Vikram Pratap Singh 

Another player from the list who played for Ranjit Bajaj’s Minerva Punjab Academy, 18 year old Vikram Pratap Singh is product of Chandigarh Football Academy hailing from Chandigarh. He is flexible enough to play across the front three but prefers to operate from the right-wing, dribbling and ball control in final third are key attributes of his gameplay.

At AFC U-16 Championship in Malaysia, his goal against Vietnam led to India’s first win. Known for his goalscoring instincts during his tenure in India Under-16 team for his braces and hat-tricks, he scored overall 15 goals in 33 appearances for India U-16 and three goals in 14 appearances for India U-20. He got selected in Indian Arrows side for 2018-19 I-League season but managed only one goal in 13 appearances.

Vikram made an impressive comeback in 2019-20 season scoring four goals in 14 appearances. Vikram’s performance impressed some top clubs and finally in May 2020, City football group owned ISL side Mumbai City FC beat Kerala Blasters for Vikram’s signature.

Vikram Pratap Singh is on the right path to emulate Sunil Chhetri and if his stint at Mumbai City FC goes right then he has the potential to become a successor of Sunil Chhetri.

1. Ishan Pandita

22 year old Bengaluru-born striker never played for any Indian club, playing in Spain for almost half decade thus yet to earn a national call-up. At the age of 17, Ishan signed contract with La Liga side Deportive Leganes for U-19 squad. He became the first indian footballer to play for Juvenil A side in the top tier spanish youth football and soon started for first team in spanish Tercera division.

Ishan earned interest from many segunda division clubs but later on joined Tercera division side Lorca FC where he has been first choice striker in 2019-20 season outscoring Paul Pogba’s elder brother Mathias Pogba and coached by Espanyol legend Walter Pandiani. He played 25 out of 27 games this season scoring six goals and emerged as club’s highest scorer.

Once again after an impressive performance he was on verge of joining Sengunda division clubs but coronavirus pandemic and crisis may force him to come back in India and play for I-League or ISL club.
Ishan got offers from spanish segunda division and high praise from uruguayan international football legend Walter Pandiani but yet to receive invitation for national team camp or trial. Ishan is most likely to become successor of Sunil Chhetri in national team if he gets recognition from All India Football Federation.


What do you think, who will replace our captain fantastic Sunil Chhetri in future? Tell us in comments.

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