"This season, the teams are better I think," Hyderabad FC coach Manolo Marquez was quoted as saying by ISL Media.
Hyderabad will be looking for a repeat from their main marksman Bartholomew Ogbeche, who topped the scoring charts with 18 goals and led them to being the highest-scoring team in the league stage. Ogbeche is part of a solid core for Hyderabad, which includes captain Joao Victor.
Hyderabad will have stiff competition from the likes of ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City FC, and Bengaluru FC, who have all put together strong squads ahead of the new season. Former Bengaluru FC defensive midfielder Erik Paartalu suggested that Mumbai City FC will be a constant threat to all teams this season and predicted that they would go on to win the title.
Mumbai City FC had one of the strongest transfer windows ahead of the season, bringing in big names like Rostyn Griffiths, Alberto Noguera, and Jorge Pereyra Diaz in particular to slot in alongside their talented Indian contingent.
ATK Mohun Bagan are another team that have gone for an overall revamp in their squad, having fallen at the semi-final stage two seasons in a row, and more recently losing in the AFC Cup inter-zone semifinal.
Coach Juan Ferrando has said there have been psychological barriers to his team in the big matches and the addition of experience to a squad that has only five players over the age of 30 will make them strong contenders again.
Set for kick-off
The ISL 2022-23 season will also require six developmental Indian players in every squad, and will provide a long calendar for young Indian talent to showcase their best. Some emerging players to watch out for this season will be Chennaiyin FC's Vincy Barretto, Kerala Blasters' Prabhsukhan Gill, and Odisha FC's Narender Gahlot.
The Indian talent on display will also be led by players like Liston Colaco and Sahal Abdul Samad who had breakthrough seasons last time around. All said and done, Let's football!