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Top draw Michael Chopra picked up by Tendulkar's Kerala Blasters

Posted on Aug 21 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 21 : Former English footballer of Indian origin Michael Chopra, who was the biggest draw, was picked up by Sachin Tendulkar-owned Kerala Blasters as 49 international players were drafted in by eight franchises for the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) that would be held tentatively from Oct 12-Dec 20.

Out of 56 players in the draft pool, 49 were picked up by the eight franchises while seven others were signed up by the clubs directly.

Former England goalkeeper and Liverpool star David James, who is the marquee player and team manager of the Kochi franchise, was actively involved in picking players for Kerala Blasters. He will be joined at the franchise with his compatriot and striker Chopra, who has played for Premiership sides like Cardiff City, Newcastle and Sunderland. Kerala Blasters also bought another striker, former Leicester City man Iain Hume, in the second round.

"We're glad to have a player with his experience in English football," said James about Chopra.

Chopra was also glad to have been picked up by Tendulkar's team.

"Pleased to have been picked by @sachin_rt's team #KeralaBlasters in @IndSuperLeague Excited to be working with David James @jamosfoundation," Chopra tweeted.

Sourav Ganguly co-owned Atletico de Kolkata has taken on-board three mid-fielders, Borja Fernandez, Jofre Mateu Gonzalez, Jakuv Podany ; two defenders Sylvain Monsoreau, Jose Miguel Gonzalez Rey, goalkeeper Apoula Edima Edel Bete and striker Arnal Llibert Conde Cardo.

The international players would be joining the promising Indian contingent for training in Los Angeles de San Rafael, Madrid. In the month long training focus will be on fitness training on the lines of the La Liga routine along with team building.

"Atletico de Kolkata made some prudent choices today at the draft .We are on course towards constructing the team to look out for at the ISL. We are for building a favourable and experienced bench strength which will be an asset in the two month long tournament. The overall experience of the players we have selected through the draft today is a rich blend of experience along with diversity in their styles of playing the game. The team is ready to depart soon for Spain and post the one month training we want to bring back a cohesive and connected team," said Utsav Parekh, co-owner of the team.

Kushal Das, general secretary, All India Football Federation (AIFF), felt "Indian Football needs a new dose of adrenalin."

"We are extremely excited and hope the Indian Super League will provide the dose of much-needed visibility to Indian Football. The focus at present is on youth development and grassroots which forms the base of the pyramid. But at the same time, the dose of commerce stays quintessential at the top of the pyramid. Both are interlinked to each other," We hope ISL will be the game changer for Indian football," he said

Anupam Dutta, chief executive, Football Sports Development Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between IMG-Reliance and Star India said: "The international player draft today marks an important milestone in the Indian football. A league's success depends on the clubs and we are happy to have equally excited and committed partners in this journey. And against the backdrop of the international player draft, let's not forget that we have a very good set of Indian players in the league as well."

List of players:

Atletico de Kolkata: Borja Fernandez, Jofre Mateu Gonzalez, Jose Miguel Gonzalez Rey, Arnal Llibert Conde Carbo,
Sylvain Monsoreau, Jakub Podany, Apoula Edima Edel Bete

Team Chennai: Bernard Mendy, Cristian Hidalgo Gonzalez, Gennaro Bracigliano, Bojan Djordjic, Bruno Augusto Pelissari de Lima, Jairo Andres Suarez Carvajal, Eduardo Silva Lerma

Delhi Dynamos: Mads Junker, Morten Skoubo, Bruno Herrero Arias, Gustavo Marmentini dos Santos, Marek Cech,
Pavel Eliaš, Henrique Dinis Oliveira Dias

Team Goa: Miroslav Slepicka, Jan Šeda, Bruno Filipe Tavares Pinheiro, Youness Bengelloun, Miguel Bruno Pereira Herlein, Gregory Arnolin, Edgar Carvalho Figueira Marcelino

Kerala Blasters: Michael Chopra, Iain Hume, Victor Herrero Forcada, Erwin Spitzner, Pedro Adriano Veloso GusmUSD o,
Cedric Hengbart, Raphael Romey

Mumbai City FC: Diego Fernando Nadal, Jan Štohanzl, Francisco Javier Fernandez Luque, Pavel Cmovš, Johann Letzelter,
Andre Matos Dias Pereira, Ilias Pollalis

North East United FC: Isaac Chansa, Cornell Glen, Massamba Lo Sambou, Do Dong-Hyun, Guilherme Felipe de Castro, Republic's Tomaš Josl, Luis Alfredo Yanes Padilla

FC Pune City: Bruno Cirillo, Emanuele Belardi, Ivan Bolado Palacios, Saidou Mady Panandetiguiri, Omar Andres, Rodriguez Martinez, Andres Felipe Gonzalez Ramirez, Park Kwang-IL

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