I-League 2019-20: 10 most valuable players

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Due to the coronavirus-enforced break, the 2019-20 I-League season couldn’t be completed and the league was declared concluded with 23 matches remaining to be played. 

Mohun Bagan had opened up an unassailable lead at the top of the table and were subsequently crowned champions, and no teams were relegated from the division. 

That being said, the I-League season provided plenty of thrills and chills as even though Mohun Bagan romped to the title, the other teams were so evenly balanced that only three points separated second-placed East Bengal and eighth-placed Churchill Brothers in the standings. 

Now that the season is done and dusted, we decided to take a look at the 10 most valuable players from the 2019-20 I-league season. 

#10 Bazie Armand (Real Kashmir, ₹16.66m)

At number ten we have Real Kashmir’s defensive midfielder Bazie Armand, who played all 15 matches in the domestic league for the Srinagar-based outfit. 

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The most impressive stat from Armand’s season is perhaps the fact that he chipped in with two goals from midfield, with the Ivory Coast native picking up just one yellow card in the campaign – a rare feat for defensive midfielders. 

#9 Kallum Higginbotham (Real Kashmir, ₹16.66m)

Next up we have Bazie Armand’s teammate, Kallum Higginbotham. The versatile winger was another mainstay for Real Kashmir, having played all 15 matches, contributing with two goals and three assists. 

The Englishman joined the I-league club ahead of the season, and after helping Kashmir to a fourth-place finish, he left to join Scottish club Kelty Hearts recently, on a free transfer. 

#8 Aser Pierrick Dipanda (Punjab FC, ₹16.66m)

Dipanda Dicka is no stranger to Indian football, having represented various I-League clubs such as DSK Shivajians, Mohun Bagan, and most recently Punjab FC. 

He was a key figure behind Punjab’s third-place finish, having scored 12 goals, and thus finishing as the top scorer in the division this season. 

His feat looks even more impressive when you take into account that Punjab as a whole, managed to score just 23 goals, nearly half of which came from Dipanda Dicka.

After a prolific campaign in front of goal, the Cameroonian striker has been subsequently roped in by Real Kashmir ahead of next term. 

#7 Loveday Enyinnaya (Real Kashmir, ₹16.66m)

The Nigerian is another player who has spent the majority of his career playing for various Indian clubs, but he well and truly shined at Real Kashmir this season, proving to be a defensive wall that few players could penetrate. 

Since joining Real Kashmir in 2018, Loveday Enyinnaya has proven to be a big bargain and should be one of the players to watch out for heading into next season. 

#6 Fran Morante (Mohun Bagan, ₹16.66m)

Interestingly, despite their I-League triumph, only two players from Mohun Bagan feature on the list of top ten most valuable players in the division. 

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One of the two is Spanish defender Fran Morante, who played for the entire duration of 90 minutes in all games this season, barring the opening match against Aizawl.

It further highlights how important Morante was for Mohun Bagan. 

#5 Baba Diawara (Mohun Bagan, ₹18.75m)

Joining his teammate in at number five is Baba Diawara, the Senegalese centre-forward who chipped in with 10 goals and a solitary assist in 12 I-League matches for the champions. 

Diawara went one step ahead of Morante, and played the entire duration of 90 minutes, in each of the games that he featured for Mohun Bagan. 

#4 Robert Primus (Churchill Brothers, ₹20.83m)

Robert Primus is the only centre-back who features in the top five of this illustrious list, as all the others giving him company are strikers. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjqlnllj4Eg

He played 12 matches for Churchill Brothers this season, scoring two goals, one of which came in a statement 4-2 win over Mohun Bagan.

The Trinidadian defender was highly influential for his club even though Churchill finished a lowly eighth in the I-League. 

#3 Henry Kisekka (Gokulam Kerela, ₹20.83m)

Another well-known commodity in the Indian footballing circuit, Henry Kisekka burst into the limelight with Gokulam Kerela in the 2017-18 season, after which he joined Mohun Bagan. 

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The 30-year-old striker failed to live up to the expectations and subsequently returned to Gokulam ahead of this season. 

Kisekka scored six goals in 15 domestic games, it wasn’t prolific as much, but the Ugandan centre-forward still finds a place on the podium. 

#2 Marcus Joseph (Gokulam Kerela, ₹20.83m)

The driving force behind Gokulam Kerela’s attack this season, Marcus Joseph was simply sensational in the I-League, playing all 15 games, and scoring seven goals, in addition to providing five assists.

Joseph played across multiple positions on the pitch, proving to be a versatile presence, and his creativity also enabled those around the 29-year-old to thrive and express themselves. 

He was a delight to watch this season, and will certainly be expected to continue delivering the goods for Gokulam next term as well. 

#1 Willis Plaza (Churchill Brothers, ₹27.08m)

After yet another prolific campaign, Churchill Brothers skipper Willis Plaza ended the season with eight goals and three assists to his name, and even though the club finished in eighth place, the Trinidadian was a livewire throughout the campaign. 

Since signing for Churchill from Mohammedan SC in 2018, Plaza has been among the goals consistently, and after a stellar 2019-20 season in the I-league, he has decided to join Mohammedan yet again. 

Also Read: ISL: Top 10 Indian goalscorers of all time

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