Top five players to watch out for in Federation Cup 2017

| Updated: May 07, 2017 12:25 IST

New Delhi [India], May 7 (ANI): The Federation Cup is set to kick-off at Cuttack's Barabati stadium today and all eyes will be glued on top Indian players and the form they are in with crucial international fixtures lined up over the next month. Here are some key players who will be in focus during the course of the two-week long league-cum-knockout tournament, the winners of which would go on to represent India in the next edition's AFC Cup. SUNIL CHHETRI: India's highest ever goal scorer and talisman, 32-year old Sunil Chetri, has been the cynosure of all Indian footballing eyes over the last decade and the striker will again be keenly followed at the Federation Cup. Representing JSW Bengaluru Football Club (BFC) since its inception four years ago, Sunil is fresh from being crowned Hero of the recently concluded I-League, notching up seven goals (joint highest Indian scorer along with teammate CK Vineeth) in the process as well as leading the side from the front. His goal scoring prowess will be crucial in India's AFC Cup Asian qualifying games, given his 53rd strike for the country against Mayanmar earlier in March this year, ensuring important three points in an away fixture. ANAS EDATHODIKA: Anas Edathoika, India's oldest football club Mohun Bagan's central defender from Kerala has fast emerged as a bulwark for his club in recent times. A clean sheet is as important as goals scored in modern football and Anas has made his mark as an assured hard-working defender with great anticipation skills and a perfect sense of timing in his final tackles. Mohun Bagan had the best defensive record in the I-League, which went a long way in ensuring their back to back second place finish and Anas along with Pritam Kotal made a constant effective presence throughout the league in defence. Anas' form and fitness will therefore be crucial if his club has to realise their pursuit of silverware this season at Cuttack. JAYESH RANE: Jayesh Rane, a 20-year old Mumbai forward representing newly crowned I-League champions Aizawl Football Club (Aizawl FC), has recently been widely praised for his role in the North-East team's resounding success. His tireless forward runs and set-piece play will again be in focus at the Federation Cup. Aizawl are on a high and Jayesh would go all out to impress Stephen Constantine, the national coach, who would be having his eagle eyes fixed on the tournament searching for impressive players. ISSAC VANMALSAWMA: Shillong Lajong's 20-year old midfielder Issac Vanmalsawma is another youngster who look all set to make a mark. He was outstanding for Lajong in the I-League topping charts in both assists and contribution in attacking play. Shillong will also be hungry after Aizawl's success and their own indifferent I-League campaign and Issac will once again have to put in a stellar show if they want to create waves in the Federation Cup. ALBINO GOMES: And finally there is Aizawl's ever-reliant custodian Albino Gomes who has impressed all throughout under the bar for Aizawl FC. Blessed with a good height, he is good in the air and scores very high on successful interceptions coming forward. He also jointly tops the number of saves made and Aizawl will know his value under the bar leading to their historic feet. A good performance at Cuttack and the 23-year old Albino could well brace up for call up to the national squad. (ANI)