Image Credit: Khelnow

As the 2022-23 Indian Super League’s second half begins, Chennaiyin FC and Odisha FC have strengthened their rosters by bringing in new players. Young defender Bikash Yumnam is acquired by Chennaiyin FC, and Tankadhar Bag and winger Aniket Jadhav are finally signed by Odisha FC.

Chennaiyin FC sign young defender Bikash Yumnam

Bikash Yumnam, the 19-year-old football sensation who is considered one of India’s most intriguing prospects, will play in his first Indian Super League season with Chennaiyin FC. The central defender, who was born in Manipur, was the first Indian to appear on The Guardian’s list of the world’s top young footballers for 2020, which also included players from illustrious teams like Manchester City, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain.

Bikash Yumnam has previously played for the Indian U-16, U-19, and U-20 teams on a regular basis. He competed in the AFC U-20 Asian Cup Qualifiers 2023 in October of last year and was a member of the Indian side that won the 2022 SAFF U-20 Championship. Yumnam made his I-league debut at age 16 with Indian Arrows before transferring to RoundGlass Punjab FC. In 29 I-league appearances so far, the player has logged more than 2000 minutes on the field while scoring one goal and providing one assist.

Now, the the19-year-old football prodigy will have the chance to show off his talent in India’s top football league thanks to a multi-year contract with the two- time ISL champions, where he will play with seasoned defenders like Senegalese star Fallou Diagne, Iranian defender Vafa Hakhamaneshi, and Indian defender Narayan Das. Yumnam will be eligible for the squad when Chennaiyin plays ATK Mohun Bagan in their next Indian Super League encounter on January 21 in Chennai.

Odisha FC complete the signing of Tankadhar Bag and winger Aniket Jadhav

According to a report, young defender Tankadhar Bag and East Bengal winger Aniket Jadhav have joined Odisha FC, signing a multi-year contract with the club. The club’s first signing of the January transfer window is Tankadhar Bag. Earlier reports had Tankadhar associated with East Bengal, but he will be playing for Odisha FC instead.

Tankadhar Bag, the right-back, is a product of the (state-run) Sports Hostel Odisha football academy. The defender is capable of playing center-back in addition to his normal position. Bag transferred from the Odisha-based academy to the Indian Arrows for the 2019–20 campaign. He was promoted to the senior Indian Arrows team in 2020 and has since displayed brilliant football.

He played for the national squad in the SAFF U-20 Championship last year and even contributed a goal to India’s 8-0 victory over Nepal. With the arrival of Tankadhar Bag, Odisha will have a youthful player posing a threat down the sides instead of using center-back Narender Gahlot as a right-back. Though it seems doubtful that manager Josep Gombau will immediately offer him a spot in the Odisha FC starting lineup given that he is only 19 years old.

The second player to join Odisha is East Bengal winger Aniket Jadhav, who has signed a two-year contract with the club. Aniket Jadhav is a gifted winger who competed for India at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. Throughout his career, he has played for the Indian Arrows, Jamshedpur FC, and Hyderabad FC.

He joined East Bengal in 2022 when the team was undergoing a major makeover under new investors. He didn’t get nearly enough playing time while he was a member of the East Bengal. Even his playing position was changed from that of a preferred left winger to a right winger, and he was moved from the active roster to the reserve team.

Odisha appears locked and loaded for the second half

With the addition of Aniket and Tankadhar, Odisha’s Josep Gombau has secured enough reinforcements to assist his club in achieving its objectives for this season. Odisha FC’s most recent match was against Bengaluru FC, which they dropped 3-1. The next match is scheduled for January 28 and will pit them against ATK Mohun Bagan.

The Juggernauts are possibly having their finest season since the team’s existence. Under head coach Josep Gombau, Odisha are in a better position than they were in the previous two seasons and have performed admirably. They presently hold the fifth spot in the ISL 2022–23 points standings with 22 points after 14 games. Given Mumbai City’s league-leading dominance, a table-top finish appears to be challenging, but the team will, however, make every effort to finish in the top four.