Top 10 Indian forwards to watch during 2023/24 Indian Super League (ISL) season

September 15, 2023

The 2023/24 Indian Super League season is within touching distance. Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC take centre stage as we commence the new ISL season on September 21.

In this list, we look at some of the Indian firepower on display. Mentioned here are up-and-coming talents, seasoned players with points to prove, and superstars who will look to replicate form from previous seasons.

Whatever the case, this list includes exciting wingers and strikers, taking us through some of the best attackers to watch in the coming season.

Also read: Top 20 strikers in men’s football right now

Lallianzuala Chhangte

Top 10 Indian forwards to watch in the ISL 2023/24 season: Lallianzuala Chhangte

Lallianzuala Chhangte is likely to be considered the poster boy of Indian football once the great Sunil Chhetri calls it a day. After a brilliant 2022/23 season, the left-footed winger will look to record even greater numbers in the upcoming campaign.

Since moving to Mumbai City FC in January 2022, Chhangte has managed 48 appearances, bagging 19 goals and 10 assists across all competitions. In the ISL alone, he recorded 10 goals and six assists from 22 appearances last year, helping his side to the league shield towards the end of the season.

Considered by many to be the most deadly winger in Indian football, Chhangte also has an incredible burst of pace. Today, the 26-year-old is a sure starter for Indian national team coach Igor Štimac. Therefore, expectations are certainly going to be high as far as Chhangte is concerned.

Sunil Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri

Not many lists go without mentioning the Bengaluru FC skipper. The 39-year-old striker is already a legend for the Blues and will be looking to have yet another successful campaign with his club.

Things didn’t quite go as planned for the former Mohun Bagan star last season as he was provided a role off the bench by manager Simon Grayson in the second half of the season. Of his 21 appearances, nine times Chhetri started on the bench.

It will be interesting to see whether Chhetri manages to find a spot in Grayson’s starting line-up this season. The departure of Roy Krishna could see the veteran striker start up top. However, BFC have brought in English number-nine Curtis Main, who could start ahead of his Indian colleague.

Mahesh Singh Naorem

Top 10 Indian forwards to watch in the ISL 2023/24 season: Mahesh Singh Naorem

Not many have burst onto the scene like East Bengal winger Mahesh Singh Naorem. The left-footed wide player is now a consistent starter for the Indian national team and his Kolkata-based club.

The 24-year-old winger was the shining light in an East Bengal team that failed to impress during the 2022/23 season. Last year, he finished with two goals and seven assists in 19 ISL appearances.

With Nandhakumar Sekar occupying the opposite wing and Cleiton Silva down the middle, expect entertaining action in the final third from this East Bengal team this season, who will be aiming for a top-six finish at least.

Nandhakumar Sekar

Nandhakumar Sekar

Nandhakumar Sekar is one of India’s brightest footballing talents today. The youngster broke into the national set-up after a successful ISL season last time out, bagging 11 goals and three assists across all competitions last season.

Sekar will be looking to replicate his incredible form with new club, East Bengal FC. Having already played in the Durand Cup this season, he will consider himself well accustomed to his new surroundings before the ISL begins.

Sekar scored twice in the Durand Cup from six appearances to help his team reach the final of the tournament. However, it wasn’t to be, as his new employers suffered a 1-0 defeat to rivals Mohun Bagan SG in the final.

Sivasakthi Narayanan

Top 10 Indian forwards to watch in the ISL 2023/24 season: Sivasakthi Narayanan

This 22-year-old youngster properly announced himself on the Indian football stage last season. He enjoyed a starting place in Simon Grayson’s BFC team towards the second half of the 2022/23 campaign.

Making 21 appearances in the ISL, Narayanan scored six goals and provided three assists. He was quite effective in using his pace on the counter and ability to finish off chances.

Narayanan has been used in wide positions as well as through the middle. It is likely that he could feature as a winger or play as a second striker to either Sunil Chhetri or Curtis Main this season. Whatever the case, the boy from Karaikudi has done enough to earn a place in Grayson’s side for the new season.

Manvir Singh

Top 10 Indian forwards to watch in the ISL 2023/24 season: Manvir Singh

Manvir Singh will be looking to respond strongly after an underwhelming 2022/23 season. The lanky striker was recently called for India’s King’s Cup matches in Thailand against Iraq and Lebanon. Despite failing to get on the scoresheet, he received much-needed minutes ahead of the new ISL season.

Last time out, the Mohun Bagan forward managed just two goals and four assists from 18 appearances in the ISL. He was pushed to a role out wide, with Dimitri Petratos playing down the middle.

Singh’s position in the upcoming season could be under threat following the arrival of Australian forward Jason Cummings. Should the Aussie be preferred as a second striker, Singh’s involvement could be hampered this season.

Liston Colaco

Liston Colaco

Another player to certainly look out for this season is Liston Colaco. The 24-year-old attacker did not enjoy the best of ISL campaigns last year, scoring just one goal and providing four assists from 20 appearances.

A spot in the starting eleven for Colaco remains uncertain at the moment. With the inclusion of several overseas forwards, the roles of Manvir Singh and Colaco roles remain unclear.

However, if given the opportunity, Colaco will look to make an impact. Known for scoring quality goals, he will look to add to his first goal of the season, which he registered in the Durand Cup.

Bipin Singh

Top 10 Indian forwards to watch in the ISL 2023/24 season: Bipin Singh

We’ve got yet another winger on this list, and this time, it’s Mumbai City’s Bipin Singh. A player who finds himself on the left flank for Des Buckingham’s side possesses a good turn of pace and can be a handful for the opposition defenders.

Singh impressed greatly last season, scoring eight goals and providing four assists from 32 appearances across all competitions. The 28-year-old also got a look in during his side’s Durand Cup run this year, where he managed two assists.

In a highly competitive Mumbai City squad, it will be important for Singh to continue living up to his coach’s high standards.

Rahul KP

Rahul KP

Kerala Blasters winger Rahul KP has quite a bit to prove after a lacklustre performance in the ISL last season. Although quick, Rahul’s output for the Blasters during the 2022/23 campaign was sub-par.

Rahul made 22 appearances across all competitions last season, bagging just three goals and two assists. A quick turnaround is something that the 23-year-old winger will be hoping for.

Rahul was a part of the national team that travelled to Thailand for the King’s Cup and made two appearances off the bench. Clearly, there is some way to go for Rahul before he becomes a sure-shot starter for India — a feat that can be achieved with consistent performances at club level.

Udanta Singh

Top 10 Indian forwards to watch in the ISL 2023/24 season: Udanta Singh

Lastly, we’ve got Udanta Singh, who recently completed a move to FC Goa following a long stay at Bengaluru FC. The winger saw limited game time but boasts incredible experience in India’s top flight.

During the 2022/23 campaign, Singh often came off the bench, racking up a total game time of just 480 minutes throughout the season. He made 17 appearances, bagging two assists and failing to score a single goal.

Singh has managed 201 appearances for the Blues, scoring 22 goals and providing 22 assists throughout his time in Bengaluru. He will certainly have a lot to prove in the coming ISL campaign.

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