Here we go with the 2nd preview on Chennayin FC.
Chennaiyin FC coached by Marco Materazzi is the current champions of Indian Super league. Starting from the 1st season, Chennayin FC has a great record in the ISL. In the 1st season, they finished top in the league table and qualified for the playoffs. Materazzi will be hoping to replicate the same feat even this season. However, things will be quite different for Chennayin this season as they will miss out on two crucial players they had for the last two seasons. Marquee player Elano who scored 12 goals for the team in the last two seasons and was pulling strings in the midfield with his deft touches and freekicks will be sorely missed by the team. Same with Stiven Mendoza, the Colombian liver wire who has scored 17 goals for the franchise in the last two seasons has joined Newyork City FC in the MLS. It will have to be seen how the team copes up with these departures.
Another notable thing Chennayin has done prior to this season is that they signed on 5 AIFF academy graduates – Anirudh Thapa, Prosenjit Chakraborty, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Baoringdao Bodo and Bedashwor Singh. We will have to see if any of these players will find a regular place in the line-up since they are quite young to be blooded in a league where there is so much at stake. However, this is a great gesture from the franchise and the boys are bound to learn a lot training under Marco and the other senior players in the team.
Now, let’s go ahead and analyze the different departments of the team.
GK: Duwayne Kerr, Karanjith Singh, Pawan Kumar
Duwayne Kerr is a Jamaican goalkeeper, who has played in Norway and Iceland. He is a very dominating big figure in the box. If Marco decides o play an Indian GK, Karanjith with his immense experience will be the choice. Pawan Kumar who has played for Bengaluru FC earlier and was part of Mumbai FC will be definitely an able back up!
Defenders : Abhishek Das (RB), Bernard Mendy(RB), Dhanachandra Singh (LB), Eder (CD), Elie Sabia (CB), Riise, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Nallapan Mohanraj (RB).
We will mostly see Mendy being partnered with Riise in the middle of the defense, other central defending options are the new signings Eli Sabia, and Eder, who had a stint with Salgaocar in the I-league. Wadoo had a great season for Chennaiyin last time around and he will most probably the pick for RB. Dhanachandra Singh who was a mainstay for the team in the last season will be the pick for LB.
Mid : Zakker Mundampara, Baljit Sahni, Dhanpal Ganesh, Manuel Blassi, Hans Mulder, Raphael Augusto, Siam Hangal and Thoi Singh
Hans Mulder, the Dutch footballer who gave a good account of himself in the last two editions of ISL for Delhi Dynamos is the new foreign recruit in the mid-field line up. Manuel Blassi and Raphael Augusto were a constant presence in Chennaiyin’s lineup last year, and this year I expect one of them to sit out and Hans Mulder taking that place. The Indian line up with Zakkeer, Dhanpal, Siam Hangal and Thoi Singh looks quite formidable too. However, i feel the midfield line-up esepcially the Indian contigent lacks in creativity and this could pose a serious threat for CFC.
Forwards : Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Davide Succi, Jayesh Rane, Jeje, Dudu, Maurizio Peluso, Uttam Rai.
Now, this is going to be a real problem area for Chennaiyin. As we mentioned earlier, MENDOZA WILL BE MISSED. Instead of him Materazzi has decided to bring in two Italian attackers. Davide Succi and Maurizio Peloso. Succi is a 34 year old forward who has played for teams like Chievo, Palermo and Bologna, with pretty good conversion rate as well. Maurizio Peluso seems to be an attacker who plays mainly on the wings and has played in the lower divisions of the Italian league. Dudu is the other forward and he doesn’t need any introduction. He has been playing in India for a long time now and is pretty prolific as well. It will have to be seen if these new recruits can fill Mendoza’s shoes. Coming to the Indian contingent, Jeje is the standout name here. He had a very good season with Chennayin FC last year and would be hoping to replicate the same kind of form this season as well. Daniel is a highly rated forward who plays for BFC but he is going to miss some action due to BFC’s AFC Cup commitments. Jayesh Rane who plays for Mumbai FC had a good season with Chennaiyin last time around will be hoping to pitch in with some goals this season. Uttam Rai is a highly rated forward who plays for Dempo Sports Club. When he burst onto the scene, he was quite a sensation and but he did not live up to that hype after that.
On the whole, this team looks pretty decent but as we said, it will have to be really seen if they can replicate the same form they managed in the first two seasons. And I feel, Chennaiyin will miss out on the playoffs this season! Yes, you heard it right!
Listen to this preview on Youtube :