Indian Super League preview: Cahill adds star power to fledgling competition
The fifth season of the Indian Super League gets underway this weekend with a familiar face set to take the competition by storm.
Caltex Socceroos legend Tim Cahill has signed on to add experience and goals to Jamshedpur as his decorated career takes in a fifth country.
The 38-year-old will cross paths with a fellow Australian, while several ex-Hyundai A-League players and coaches are set to renew rivalries.
Here's our lowdown ahead of the latest installment of the ISL.
Cahill isn't the only name recognisable to Australian audiences.
Former Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers boss Josep Gombau will be looking to lead Delhi Dynamos to an improvement on the eighth-placed finish they achieved last term.
He will butt heads in the technical area and with ex-Reading manager Steve Coppell, now in charge at ATK, and none other than David James, who has gone from England goalkeeper to coach of Kerala Blasters.
On the pitch, Coppell has Andre Bikey and Kalu Uche at his disposal, while one-time West Brom full-back Gianni Zuiverloon is with Delhi and Andrea Orlandi, a Swansea City favourite, is at Chennaiyin FC.
Several former Hyundai A-League players are also plying their trade in India.
Andrija Kaluderovic (Delhi), Dimas Delgado (Bengaluru) and Lucian Goian (Mumbai City) will all hope for success.
Cahill has arrived to much fanfare at Jamshedpur.
The club entered the competition as one of two expansion teams last season and finished a credible fifth, just one place outside the playoff spots.
Their acquisition of the Caltex Socceroos' all-time leading scorer seems a shrewd move - only team scored fewer goals than Jamshedpur's 16 goals.
Cahill's arrival doubles the number of Aussies in the ISL.
A team-mate of Dimas, Erik Paartalu is backing up for Bengaluru after a fine debut campaign.
The twice-capped ex-Melbourne City man chipped in with three goals and played a vital role in midfield to help his club go all the way to the decider.
There was to be no repeat of his Grand Final successes with Brisbane Roar, though, as Bengaluru were edged 3-2 by Chennaiyain.
Chennaiyin's triumph last time around marks them out as the team to beat.
Bengaluru had finished eight points clear on the ladder and will look to go one better in the post-season.
To do that, they will need to break the duopoly of Chennaiyin and ATK, the two clubs having shared the four championships between them.
Regular contenders Kerala Blasters suffered defeats in two of those finals, before slipping back to a disappointing sixth last season.
When does it start?
ATK and Kerala Blasters kick off the new season at midnight (AEST) on Saturday.
The 10 teams play each other twice with a mid-season break for the AFC Asian Cup.
Paartalu's first fixture is a rematch with Chennaiyin at midnight on Sunday, while Cahill could debut for Jamshedpur away to Mumbai City at midnight on Tuesday.
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