Finally the wait is over for Chennai to be part of the national league after more than a decade since Indian Bank last played in it. This also makes sure Chennai is in the news since 2013 since Chennaiyinfc were part of the Indian super league since 2013.
Despite being one of the newest entrants for the i-League, ChennaiCity is the oldest club after the famous Kolkata clubs East Bengal and Mohun bagan in the current League. Founded in 1946 as Nethaji SC spent a majority of the time at the Chennai football divisions but were never been able to break the glass ceiling at the national level
The news of Chennaicity FC winning the bid to represent the metro city has been widely supported with optimism for the future of sustainable top level football for some seasons to come.
Things began to change in 2013 when Rohit Ramesh an avid football and Arsenal Fan bought the club from the last surviving original founder & owner when the team was languishing in the First division of the local Chennai Football league. One level below the top division the Chennai Super Division.
Name change, Adequate amount of Investment, Color change and backed by the new owner’s ambitions raised Chennai City FC from midtable obscurity in the first division to be in the frey till the final rounds for a title last year in the Chennai Super Division title despite being promoted only the previous season.
Even though the Bid has been won, It wasnt a surprise as the present owner has been talking his ambition to represent Chennai City FC at the i-league level for well over a year now.
Current Squad and Management
It was clear from the beginning that the team shall be very cautious in its recruitment, “Taking Things Step by Step without any Rash decision” and “its a learning process” Gave indications on how the team shall go about building its Squad Depth. Without any notions of a Bengaluru FC type Miracle, Chennai City though has been making some smart moves in its new additions with the focus to bring players with a local connect and valuable i-League experience for a nascent raw squad despite having only a few days left before the Crucial first match of the season on 8th Jan at home.
Robin Charles has been roped in as Head coach for the team, Despite experience at Santosh trophy level is untested at national club football level, It will be keen to see how he uses his experience and knowledge at the grass root level of Tamil Nadu into results for the i-league which is fast coming up within a week’s time.
Keeping him company is Australian & AFC A Level certified coach Andrew Oakly who has been named as Assistant Coach of the team & Physio Vallab.
Andrew is actually no stranger to Chennai Footballing circles having been player-Coach for the Local Super division team Eagles team a decade back.
Dharamaraj Ravanan the Thiruchy born defender, Past Captain & Winner of the i-League with Churchill in 2013-2104 season & Captain of the TamilNadu Santosh Trophy team will be the core & leader of the squad. A regular for the Pune city FC last season will be looked upon by Chennai City to inspire the team and get results which shall
help them be competitive in the league. Supporting him in the defense would be former Mohun Bagan defender Anyichie Echezona
Adding to this experience to the back will be Goalkeeper and National squad pool player Karanjit Singh another shrewd piece of Business for the season as loan from Chennaiyin FC.Karanjit Singh a regular feature in the Chennaiyin FC ISL franchise retains Chennai as his home and will be between the sticks for the club. Having Valuable i-League experience adds further value to the nascent squad.
Adding to the Loans and Local Flavour will be Dhanpal Ganesh, The Chennaiyin FC midfielder joins the squad along with fellow Chennaiyin FC budding young midfielder Zakeer Mudampura in the Middle.
Malsawmfela the dimunitive Mizoram striker comes on loan from Div 2 league club Chanmari FC, Keeping him Company in the attacking front are two relatively unknown talents in Marcos Tank and Charles both on loan from GDSC Alvarenga. Having played in the youth system of Corinthians and Fluminense FC respectively will be interesting to see what the two attacking players bring to the squad.
With the rest of the Squad being young and largely untested, This will be a good opportunity for young players to break into the national scene when the campaign starts on 8th Jan against fellow new entrants Minerva Punjab.
Prediction – 9th
Chennai City will have its work cut out to remain competitive, Despite making some shrewd signings the bulk of the squad and coaching has been untested at this level.
It is expected the team shall remain competitive and build on its performance this season. With fellow new additions to the league Minerva and Churchill, Chennai city will be looking forward for these fixtures for results.
This along with odd results should help them remain in touch or be above fellow new entrants this season.
This shall be a learning curve for the players and the management, With the Merger looming large next season Chennai City will look forward to setting up its stake at the national league when the time eventually comes.
(this article is written by our forum member DX from chennai its only edited and posted by the author)