As the Indian Super League or ISL is gaining popularity and we are getting more and more details about the participating teams. The latest addition in our ISL Teams article series is ‘Chennaiyin FC’ a franchise from the fourth metro city of India, Chennai (formerly known as Madras).
There is an interesting fact about Chennaiyin FC which we will reveal later in this article. First, get all the important and basic details about ‘Chennaiyin FC’, and then we will brief you about how it was formed and who are the players playing for this franchise in the ongoing Indian Super League.
ISL Team – Chennaiyin FC
Brief Information about Chennaiyin FC
Full Name: Chennaiyin Football Club
Founded: 28 August 2014
Home Ground: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Marina Arena), Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Head Coach: John Gregory
Affiliation: Indian Super League
Official Website: https://chennaiyinfc.com/
How Chennaiyin FC was found?
On 14th August 2014, a team of ISL visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai for the arrangements of the proposed team. The team was bid by Vita Dani and Abhishek Bachan and later on October 6, 2014, former Indian Cricket team captain M.S Dhoni became the joint co-owner for the Chennaiyin FC.
Introduction to Chennaiyin FC
After the foundation of ISL was laid in the year 2013, Chennai was one of the franchise cities which was proposed for the bidding. But on 11th April 2014, the news came that the bidders which were actually a consortium led by the former Indian Cricket great Sunil Gavaskar dropped itself from the bidding process because of certain commitments with the Board of Control for Cricket in India – BCCI.
In August 2014, just before two months of the 2014 ISL season, Bangalore team owners, Sun Group dropped out of the ISL with some disputes with the organizers.
There were reports that ISL organizers were looking for the new owners who can bid for the Bangalore franchise before it was revealed that Abhishek Bachan and Ronnie Screwvala would bid for the Chennai Team instead of the Bangalore franchise.
Finally, later in mid-August Abhishek Bachan and Vita Dani bid for the Chennai Team, and in October 2014, M.S. Dhoni became the joint co-owner of the Chennai Team.
In September 2014, Chennaiyin FC singed Italian World Cup Winner Marco Materazzi as their player-manager. On 9 October 2014, the club officially launched their jersey but changed the pattern of their home jersey in the 2018-19 season.
Marco Materazzi Era (2014-2016)
The first match under Materazzi was played on October 25, 2014, against FC Goa where Chennaiyin FC was victorious by 2-1. The goals were scored by Elano and Balwant Singh where Balwant Singh became the first Indian to score in the competition. The team finished in the first place in the 2014 season where they were drawn against Kerala Blasters in semi-finals.
The first leg of the semi-finals was hosted by Kerala Blasters where they lost by 3-0 but in the second leg, Chennaiyin FC overturned the game by 3-0 and led the game to extra time. However, the goal by Kerala Blaster’s Stephen Pearson on the 117th minute shattered the dreams of the Chennaiyin FC players and fans to reach the finals of the inaugural season of ISL.
In the second season of ISL, Chennaiyin FC managed to retain 6 of its players named, Balwant Singh, Abhishek Das, Dhanachandra Singh, Jayesh Rane, Harmanjot Khabra, and Jeje Lalpekhlua.
The season started with losing the first two games Still Chennaiyin FC managed to secure points after winning against Mumbai and Goa, but lost further 3 matches on the run. But still, the team didn’t give up and went up on winning four consecutive games and finished 3rd and qualified for the playoffs. They won the finals of the second season by defeating FC Goa 3-2.
For the third season of ISL, Chennaiyin FC again managed to secure 6 of its players named, Jayesh Rane, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Harmanjot Khabra, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Dhanachandra Singh, Abhishek Das, and Thoi Singh.
In the third season, they signed John Arne Riise as their marquee player and with just three wins the team finished 7th in the season by just a point ahead of FC Goa. After a gloomy season, Materazzi parted ways on mutual consent with the club.
John Gregory (2017–2019)
In October 2017, former Aston Villa manager John Gregory was appointed as the head coach for the 2017-18 season. As he took charge in September, the club traveled to Thailand for a pre-season. Chennaiyin lost its first game of the ISL 2017 season against FC Goa but went on the run of winning the next 3 games.
The run came to an end where they lost just by 1-0 against Mumbai City FC. The team went on to finish 2nd at the end of the season and were drawn against FC Goa in the semi-finals. Chennai won by an aggregate of 4-1 in the semis to advance for the finals. The club then clashed Bengaluru FC in the finals and won the 2017 ISL season by defeating Bengaluru FC by 3-2.
Following the glory of the 2017-18 season, Chennaiyin FC became the first Indian club, representing ISL, to play in the AFC Cup.
The club then became the first ISL club to advance to the group stage of AFC Cup 2019 after defeating Colombo FC of Sri Lanka by 1-0.
In the AFC Cup 2019, Chennaiyin FC started its campaign with a goalless draw against Minerva Punjab but went on winning their next two games by 2-0 and 1-0 against Manang Marshyangdi Club of Nepal, and Abahani Limited Dhaka of Bangladesh respectively. Chennaiyin FC failed to qualify for the Inter-zone play-off semi-finals as they finished second in the group with 3 wins, 2 draws, and a loss.
On Gregory’s 65th birthday he was offered the renewal of his contract with the team as their head coach but will expire soon after the 2019-20 season.
Team Details of Chennaiyin FC
The current squad of Chennaiyin FC for the 2019-2020 season is as follows:
Head Coach: John Gregory
Goal Keepers: Karanjit Singh, Vishal Kaith, Sanjiban Ghosh, Samik Mitra
Defenders: Tondonba Singh, Masih Saighani, Lucian Goian (Captain), Eli Sabiá, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Deepak Tangri, Remi, Zohmingliana Ralte, Laldinliana Renthlei, Hendry Antonay
Midfielders: Lallianzuala Chhangte, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Dragoș Firțulescu, Thoi Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Srinivasan Pandiyan, Dhanpal Ganesh, Germanpreet Singh, Rafael Crivellaro
Forwards: Nerijus Valskis, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Rahim Ali, André Schembri, Bawlte Rohmingthanga