VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 wrote a fresh chapter in the annals of Indian sports by becoming the biggest domestic league with 12 teams participating. The unprecedented heights the league has touched in the last three years has been unbelievable with players coming from countries afar to take part in the kabaddi extravaganza. Like previous editions, a number of foreign players have made their mark in Season 5, proving their might beside the seasoned Indian players on the mat. Here’s a look at the top five foreign players from this season.
Abozar Mighani (Gujarat Fortunegiants)
The Iranian defender has continued his sublime form from the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup into his debut VIVO Pro Kabaddi season. His corner partnership with fellow-Iranian Fazel Atrachali has been deadly and Gujarat’s biggest asset this season. With more than 60 tackle points under his belt this season, Mighani has claimed his place amongst the top 5 defenders of the season so far. His timely dives and thigh holds have elements of terror for opponent raiders.
Fazel Atrachali (Gujarat Fortunegiants)
Season 4’s best defender saw a number of teams bidding to sign him before Gujarat succeeded. His partnership with Mighani has made Gujarat one of the most formidable defensive units in the league. His calm demeanour on the mat during crunch situations and ability to fend off pressure with a constant smile on his lips saw him earning the captain’s armband of Gujarat as the league entered its business end. He is Gujarat’s second best defender in terms of tackle points (57 so far) after fellow-Iranian Mighani and will be keen to take his team to glory with a win in the final on Saturday.
Meraj Sheykh (Dabang Delhi K.C.)
Another Iranian who finds his name in the top foreigners’ list is both Iran and Dabang Delhi K.C.’s captain, Meraj Sheykh. Delhi had a dismal fifth season and their captain was the only player to bring in some respite for the fans. Sheykh’s efforts may have gone in vain and inconsistency may have been his bane this time around but he ends the season as the league’s leading all-rounder with 104 points and Delhi’s leading raider with 96 points, even after being sidelined quite a few times due to injuries.
Jang Kun Lee (Bengal Warriors)
Lee has been the Warriors’ star player from the very first season, and his heroics in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup where he earned the title of the Most Valuable Player ensured the Warriors retained him. The South Korean may not have been able to touch the expected heights this season but has still played his part in the team’s journey into the play-offs and will again be a crucial player in Qualifier 2. This season, he crossed the overall 300-point milestone to become the league’s first foreign player to achieve that feat. With both age and talent on his side, Lee remains one of the league’s biggest foreign attractions.
Ziaur Rahman (Puneri Paltan)
Pune have the best defence in the league based on numbers and amongst an experienced bunch of defenders, credit should also be given to Bangladesh’s young star Ziaur Rahman. The glitz and glamour of the league, along with the challenge of facing the biggest stars of the game, did not deter the left cover as he continued to aid the corners to dash and tackle opponents off the pitch with gusto. Rahman has shown immense promise in his first season with 20 tackle points and is one to watch out for in the future.