NorthEast United FC

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NorthEast United FC
Official NorthEast United FC Logo.png
Full nameNorthEast United Football Club
Nickname(s)The Highlanders
Founded13 April 2014; 4 years ago (2014-04-13)
GroundIndira Gandhi Athletic Stadium
OwnerJohn Abraham
Head coachEelco Schattorie
LeagueIndian Super League
2018–19Regular season: 4th of 10
Finals: Semi-finals
WebsiteClub website
Current season

NorthEast United FC, also known as NEUFC, is an Indian professional football club based in Guwahati, Assam. It competes in the Indian Super League.[1] The club claims to represent the 8 states of India known as North East India: Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Mizoram. The team is owned and operated by Bollywood actor John Abraham.[1]

NorthEast United are the first club in India to have a representation by region instead of a city.[2]



In early 2014, it was announced that the All India Football Federation, the national federation for football in India, and IMG-Reliance would be accepting bids for ownership of eight of nine selected cities for the upcoming Indian Super League, an eight-team franchise league modeled along the lines of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.[3] On 13 April 2014, it was announced that Bollywood actor John Abraham and Shillong Lajong Football Club had won the bidding for the franchise.[1]

On 16 July 2014, the club signed Joan Capdevila, a European Championship and World Cup winning defender with Spain, as its marquee player. He said: "India is a huge country and it should be a privilege for me to be a small part in popularizing this global game here and working with the young talented footballers of North East India".[4]

On 19 August the club hired its first manager, New Zealander Ricki Herbert, who had represented and managed his nation at World Cups.[5]

2014 season[edit]

On 13 October 2014, the team won their first ISL match at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, Spaniard Koke scoring the only goal of the game to defeat Kerala Blasters.[6] The team did not make the end-of-season play-offs, finishing in last place among the eight teams.

2015 season: Narrowly missed play-offs[edit]

For their second season, NorthEast United signed former Portugal international Simão Sabrosa as their new marquee signing.[7] On 1 July 2015 the team announced their manager for the 2015 season, former Venezuela national coach, César Farías. The team lost all three of their opening matches with Simão absent through injury, but then earned a 2–0 home win over Chennaiyin FC in which the marquee player won and dispatched an added-time penalty kick to open the scoring.[8] The club entered the top-four for semi-finals by the end of the season but lost their position to Chennaiyin, who defeated Pune City to gain 3 points and secure the spot.

2016 season[edit]

On 13 May 2016, NorthEast United announced Sérgio Farias as the club's new manager.[9] However, Sérgio Farias joined his former club Suphanburi FC for a second stint forcing NorthEast United to look for a new coach. On July 9, 2016, NorthEast United officially announced Sérgio Farias' exit.[10] On July 23, 2016, NorthEast United announced Nelo Vingada as the club's new manager.[11] The club again got a chance to enter the top-four for semi-finals if they defeat Kerala Blasters but lost and hence, losing their semi-final chance. The club scored 14 goals and conceded 14 goals in that season. More than half of the goals (8) were scored by the South American duo Nicholas Velez and Emiliano Alfaro with 3 and 5 goals respectively.

2017–18 season: A forgettable season[edit]

On 17 July 2017, in hope for a great season NorthEast United signed the young Portuguese manager Joao Carlos Pires de Deus.[12] After playing its preseason games in Antalya, Turkey. The team began its season against the ISL debutants Jamshedpur FC. The game ended in a draw with neither side managing to find the back of the net despite NorthEast playing against a 10 men Jamshedpur in the last 20 minutes.[13] Next they played Chennaiyin FC in Chennai, where they failed to keep the record of never losing in Chennai after losing 3–0.[14] NorthEast witnessed their first win of the season where they defeated Delhi Dynamos 0–2 in the opponent's ground. The first goal of the match came from Marcinho in the 17th minute, when a cross by Halicharan Narzary from the left flank found him unmarked inside the box. The second goal came from the striker Danilo in the 22nd minute, when he pressured the Delhi custodian Albino Gomes and made him make error inside his own box, leaving an open goal for Danilo to score his first and last goal of the season and, 500th goal of the league.[15] It was followed by a 4 match losing streak right after which the Portuguese manager was sacked.[16] The team management brought in the ex-Chelsea boss Avram Grant as a technical advisor who acted as a caretaker manager in the absence of Joao.[17] He was later promoted to Head Coach on 12 January 2018, after the team released an official statement about Joao's sacking.[18] The team won 2 out of the first 3 games under Grant, where they defeated FC Goa 2–1[19] and Chennaiyin FC 3–1[20] at home. Seiminlen Doungel scored the first ever hat-trick for NorthEast United in that match. The team failed to win a single match after that, ending the season in a long 8 match winless streak in which they drew 1 match and lost all other matches. They finished the season at the last position managing to win only 3 matches and scoring 12, which was the lowest for the season. Overall the team didn't perform well enough. It was the worst performance in the season since the club came into existence

On 19 February 2018, AIFF announced the Indian Super Cup as a replacement for the Federation Cup. It will be played between 16 teams, the top 6 teams of ISL and I-League and the remaining 4 will be picked through a qualifier played between the bottom 4 from both league. NorthEast United participated in the Cup Qualifiers for the 4 remaining spots. NorthEast United played their qualifier match against Gokulam Kerala on 15 March 2018 which they lost 2–0 and got eliminated.

2018–19 season: Eelco Schatorrie era[edit]

2018-19 is the fifth season of the club's existence. The season started with a positive start under coach Eelco Schatorrie with NorthEast United drawing with Goa and two consecutive wins over ATK and defending champions Chennaiyin. Against Chennaiyin, NorthEast United made a thrilling comeback after down 3-1 in 35th minute to 3-3 in first half and winning the match 4-3. After Some thrilling victories against Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyan the club strengthened its way to the playoffs. After playing 17 matches and getting 28 points Northeast United finally qualified for the playoffs with Jamshedpur losing a chance to the playoffs with a draw against Chennaiyan FC and also for Super Cup. They also lost the least number of matches and conceded the least number of the goals of any team in the league. They also made a club record of 29 points. Former Nigerian international Bartholomew Ogbeche became the highest goalscorer of the club scoring 12 goals. NorthEast United became a major force in the league. They defeated Bengaluru in the first leg of semi-finals with Mascia scoring in the dying moments in the game. Northeast United lost their second leg against Bengaluru which also saw Federico Gallego getting injured.

League statistics[edit]

Season Teams Position Pld. W D L GF GA GD Pts. League Top Scorer Goals Manager Super Cup
2014 8 8th 14 3 6 5 11 13 -2 15 Spain Koke 4 New Zealand Ricki Herbert No Cup
2015 8 5th 14 6 2 6 18 23 -5 20 Argentina Nicolás Vélez 5 Venezuela César Farías
2016 8 5th 14 5 3 6 14 14 0 18 Uruguay Emiliano Alfaro 5 Portugal Nelo Vingada
2017–18 10 10th 18 3 2 13 12 27 -15 11 India Len
Brazil Marcinho
4 Portugal Joao de Deus
(until 3 January)
Israel Avram Grant
(from 4 January 2018)
2018–19 10 4th 18 7 8 3 22 18 +4 29 Nigeria Ogbeche 12 Netherlands Eelco Schattorie Qualified


The crest of NorthEast United FC is featured with 8 stars at the top representing each state of North-east India. The crest is designed with red, black and white applications, with the club name written in bold letters between the main crest and the stars. The club changed the crest with an entirely gold crest for its third season of ISL. It was changed back to the original color after the end of the season. The original crest, and a red and white is currently in use by the club.


Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium
সৰুসজাই ষ্টেডিয়াম (Sarusajai Stadium)
LocationSarusajai, Guwahati, Assam
Coordinates26°06′56″N 91°45′37″E / 26.11556°N 91.76028°E / 26.11556; 91.76028
OwnerGovernment of Assam

NorthEast United FC play their home matches at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati. In 2014, to meet FIFA regulations, the stadium was renovated and its capacity was increased from 12,000 to 35,000. Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium hosted the opening ceremony of ISL 2016. NorthEast had the highest attendance on 20 October 2016, when a record attendance of 32,844 turned up to witness the match between NorthEast United and Chennaiyin FC. The capacity was again reduced to 23,850 after the installation of bucket seats for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The stadium saw the lowest attendance in the history of ISL when only 1,121 fans turned up to witness the match played between NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters FC on 17 February 2018.[21]


NorthEast United is owned by John Abraham, who is an Indian Bollywood actor, producer and former model.[22] It is the only ISL club that is not owned by any company or corporation. John Abraham is said to have spent money from his own pocket in order to finance the club.


The official supporters group or fan club of the club is the Highlander Brigade.[23][24] The fan club can be traced back to its roots where it was merely a WhatsApp group formed out of a handful of followers of a Facebook page "NorthEast United FC Fans". They not only support NorthEast United but also support the Indian team.

Before the fourth season of the Indian Super League, keeping an eye on the occasion, a major chunk of the group members decided to meet and attempt to do something big. And under the tutelage of key members helming certain responsibilities, the Brigade grew and spread out rapidly.

With over 500 members stretched out across the 8 states of the Northeast India, The Highlander Brigade is strong and capable enough to indulge in "Travelling Fans" and hosting football-related events in the city. To ensure that the football culture remains proactive in the city, the brigade plans to indulge in more fan activities in the future as well.

Even after a lackluster fourth season for the club, the Highlander Brigade could be seen cheering them on with the red-white-black flags and banners thumping down the beats in a raging winter cold under the lights.And therefore these beloved group of people were received fondly by the club and the players.

Highlander Brigade remains an excited bunch of people in a football crazy region and along with the other fan clubs of the country, they form a pivotal part of the umbrella of football culture as fans in India.

Fan park[edit]

NorthEast United organises its fan park in Sarusajai Stadium. It attracts large number of supporters. Several events like music and dance are organised in the fan park.[25][26]


NorthEast United play the Eastern Derby or East Indian Derby against neighbouring club ATK. NorthEast United have won three matches, drawn two match and lost five matches till date against ATK. The two clubs represents two football crazy regions of India and also have a huge fan and supporter base.[27][28]

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2014—2015 Adidas HTC
2015—2017 Performax
2017—present McDowell's No.1

Kit Evolution[edit]

2015, 2018–present

Current squad[edit]

First-Team squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 India GK Pawan Kumar
2 Colombia DF Janeiler Rivas Palacios
4 India DF Pawan Kumar
5 India DF Provat Lakra
6 Colombia MF José David Leudo
7 India MF Fanai Lalrempuia
8 India FW Girik Khosla
9 Uruguay MF Federico Gallego (On loan from Boston River)
10 Nigeria FW Bartholomew Ogbeche (Captain)
11 India MF Simranjit Singh
12 India DF Reagan Singh
13 India GK Rehenesh TP
14 India MF Rowllin Borges (Vice-captain)
No. Position Player
15 India FW Kivi Zhimomi (On loan at TRAU F.C.)
16 India DF Gurwinder Singh
18 Croatia DF Mato Grgić (Fourth captain)
19 India DF Robert Lalthlamuana (Third captain)
20 India DF Keegan Pereira
21 India MF Rupert Nongrum
22 India MF Redeem Tlang
23 India MF Nikhil Kadam
24 Uruguay FW Juan Cruz Mascia
26 India DF Shouvik Ghosh
27 Greece MF Panagiotis Triadis
31 India GK Gurmeet Singh
32 India MF Lalthathanga Khawlhring

Reserves and Academy[edit]

NorthEast United run youth teams which competes in U18 Youth League and U15 Youth League. Both teams play in Guwahati-Shillong zone of their respective leagues.

U-18 Squad
As of 13 January 2018[29]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 India GK Nikhil Deka
8 India FW Moirangthem Amarjit Singh
10 India FW George Khaiminthang Tungnung
13 India DF F. Hmingsang Zuala
14 India MF Batskhemlang Thangkhiew
15 India MF Remark Kharmalki
16 India DF Paoboilen Kipgen
17 India FW Dorjee Wangshu Khangroeju
18 India FW Bhabokstar Shyrkon
No. Position Player
19 India DF Satgoulal Touboi
21 India GK Rahul Borah
27 India DF C. Lalnunthara
29 India MF Bankitboklang Nongrum
30 India MF Deibanraplang Kharumnuid
32 India FW Pintso Lepcha
34 India MF Sanborlang Sohtun
43 India MF Jeffrey Lalmalsawma

Current technical staff[edit]

Position Name
Head coach Netherlands Eelco Schattorie
Assistant coach Australia Shaun Ontong
Goalkeeping coach India Joseph Sidy
Youth Team coach India Subham Rabha
Chief Technical Officer India Varun Ravi
Team Manager India Rahul Sengupta
Technical Advisor Israel Avram Grant
Head of Team Operations
Head of Player Recruitment
Media Manager India Rajarshi Chakrabarty
Club Analyst India Aravind
Team Doctor India Afzal Hussain
Head Physiotherapist India Tanveer Siddiqui
Assistant Physiotherapist India Firoz Shaikh
Sports Therapist India Kamal Chandra Das


As of 13 February 2019

Source:[30] [31]

Top goalscorers[edit]

# Name Years Goals
1 Nigeria Bartholomew Ogbeche 2018-19 12 (17)
2 Argentina Nicolás Vélez 2015, 2016 8 (25)
3 Uruguay Emiliano Alfaro 2016 5 (13)
3 India Seiminlen Doungel 2014, 2017, 2018 5 (26)
5 Spain Koke 2014 4 (12)
5 Brazil Marcinho 2017, 2018 4 (17)
5 Uruguay Federico Gallego 2018-19 4 (16)
5 India Rowllin Borges 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018-2019 4 (33)
7 Portugal Simão 2015 3 (10)
7 Senegal Diomansy Kamara 2015 3 (12)
7 Uruguay Juan Cruz Mascia 2018-19 3 (14)
7 India Seityasen Singh 2015, 2016 3 (14)

Top assists[edit]

# Name Years Assists
1 Uruguay Federico Gallego 2018-19 5 (16)
2 Spain Koke 2014 4 (12)
2 India Halicharan Narzary 2016, 2017, 2018 4 (29)
4 India Sanju Pradhan 2015 3 (11)
4 Senegal Diomansy Kamara 2015 3 (12)
4 Argentina Nicolás Vélez 2015, 2016 3 (25)
6 England James Keene 2014 2 (10)
6 Portugal Simao Sabrosa 2015 2 (10)
6 Spain Bruno Arias 2015 2 (12)
6 Brazil Danilo Cezario 2017, 2018 2 (19)
6 India Rowllin Borges 2016, 2017, 2018 2 (38)

Most appearances[edit]

# Name Years Appearance
1 India Rehenesh TP 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 47 (0)
2 India Reagan Singh 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 38 (0)
3 India Rowllin Borges 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 33 (4)
4 India Holicharan Narzary 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 29 (0)
5 India Seminlen Doungel 2014, 2017, 2018 26 (5)
6 Argentina Nicolás Vélez 2015, 2016 25 (8)
6 India Nirmal Chettri 2016, 2017, 2018 25 (0)
8 India Robin Gurung 2014, 2015, 2016 24 (0)

Notable former foreign players[edit]

***All these players have represented their respective countries at highest level***
Name Country
Alexandros Tzorvas GreeceGreece
Kondwani Mtonga ZambiaZambia
Massamba Sambou SenegalSenegal
Isaac Chansa ZambiaZambia
Luis Yanes ColombiaColombia
Joan Capdevila SpainSpain
Leo Bertos New ZealandNew Zealand
Cornell Glen Trinidad and TobagoTrinidad & Tobago
Simão Sabrosa PortugalPortugal
André Bikey CameroonCameroon
Silas PortugalPortugal
Diomansy Kamara SenegalSenegal
Boubacar Sanogo Ivory CoastIvory Coast
Didier Zokora Ivory CoastIvory Coast
Romaric Ivory CoastIvory Coast
Emiliano Alfaro UruguayUruguay
Sambinha Guinea-BissauGuinea-Bissau
Odaïr Fortes Cape VerdeCape Verde


Name Nationality From To
Ricki Herbert  New Zealand 13 October 2014 20 December 2014
César Farías  Venezuela 30 June 2015 20 December 2015
Nelo Vingada  Portugal 23 July 2016 15 May 2017[32]
João de Deus  Portugal 17 July 2017 3 January 2018
Avram Grant  Israel 4 January 2018
12 January 2018
(Head Coach)
14 August 2018
Eelco Schattorie  Netherlands 17 August 2018[33]

Asian clubs ranking[edit]

As of 5 March 2019[34]
Current Rank Country Team
251 Lebanon Tadamon Sour
252 Qatar Al Kharaitiyat SC
253 India NorthEast United
254 Qatar Al-Wakrah SC
255 Iran Gahar Zagros F.C.


  1. ^ a b c Basu, Saumyajit. "Stars embrace football through Indian Super League". Times of India. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  2. ^ "The Official website of NorthEast United FC | Hero ISL Team". The Official website of NorthEast United FC | Hero ISL Team. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  3. ^ "Indian Super League sees interest from 30 franchise bidders". Business Standard. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  4. ^ Bali, Rahul (16 July 2014). "Capdevila: 'It's a privilege to popularize football in India'". Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Herbert 'looking forward' to Indian Super League". 3news. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  6. ^ Ganguily, Abhishek (13 October 2014). "ISL: NorthEast United ride high on Koke, beat Kerala Blasters 1–0". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Former Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa joins Indian Super League". ESPN FC. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Indian Super League: NorthEast United 2–0 Chennaiyin FC: Simao & Velez earn first points for NorthEast". 20 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Sergio Farias to NorthEast United". NorthEast United FC (Twitter). 13 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Sergio Farias exits NorthEast United". NorthEast United FC (Twitter). 9 July 2016.
  11. ^ "NorthEast United FC announce Nelo Vingada as the club's new manager". NorthEast United FC (Twitter). 15 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Joao Carlos Pires signs with NorthEast United". NorthEast United FC (Twitter).
  13. ^ "NorthEast drew against 10 men Jamshedpur". 18 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Chennaiyin defeats NorthEast". 23 November 2018.
  15. ^ "NorthEast register first win". 2 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Joao de Deus sacked". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Grant to take over as stand-in coach". Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Grant officially NorthEast head coach". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  19. ^ "First win for Grant". 6 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Len hat-trick". Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  21. ^ "lowest ISL attendance". 17 February 2018.
  22. ^ "John Abraham enters Bollywood with Jism". Times of India. 10 January 2003. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
  23. ^ "Highlander Brigade – NorthEast United FC". Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  24. ^ "Highlander Brigade (@HighlanderB8) | Twitter". Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  25. ^ Now, Khel. "Northeast united Fan Park to host various musical performances on Monday". Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  26. ^ "Colourful show for football fans at NEUFC Fan Park » Northeast Today". Northeast Today. 2018-10-01. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  27. ^ "ATK, NorthEast feature in season's first Eastern derby". Indian Super League. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  28. ^ "East Indian derby pits NorthEast against ATK in crunch tie". Indian Super League. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  29. ^ "Match Summary" (PDF). Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  30. ^ "India " Indian Super League " All-time appearances " NorthEast United FC " rank 1 – 50". World Football. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  31. ^ "ISL Statistics". IndianSuperLeague(official).
  32. ^ "Vingada leaves NorthEast United FC". NorthEast United FC (Twitter).
  33. ^ "Eelco appointed as Head coach". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  34. ^ "AFC Football / Soccer Clubs Ranking".

External links[edit]