Chennaiyin FC unveiled their first team squad for the 2018-19 Indian Super League season at a press conference here today. The reigning Indian Super League champions have retained twelve players from the successful 2017-18 campaign and promoted CFC B team players Hendry Antonay, Bedashwor Singh and Zonunmawia to the 25-man squad for their ISL title defence.
The core of last season’s squad has been retained with four foreigners – Raphael Augusto, Mailson Alves, Inigo Calderon and Gregory Nelson – continuing while Brazilian defender Eli Sabia, Italian midfielder Andrea Orlandi and Palestine forward Carlos Antonio Salom are the new foreign additions.
There is a good mix of youth and experience with ten of the domestic contingent being U-23 players. The key absentee is local boy Dhanpal Ganesh who is set to miss a major part of the season due to a knee injury.
“We are looking forward to the new season with an objective to create history by becoming the first team to retain the ISL title, and put on a good show in our debut AFC Cup campaign,” said a determined John Gregory ahead of his side’s ISL season 5 opener against Bengaluru FC at the Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday September 30.
CFC’s pre-season preparations comprised a month in Malaysia followed by 10 days in Goa. They played four friendlies in Malaysia before a double-header against All India Football Federation (AIFF)’s developmental side Indian Arrows in Goa.
25-man squad for start of the 2018-19 ISL:
Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, Sanjiban Ghosh, Nikhil Bernard
Defenders: Mailson Alves (Brazil), Eli Sabia (Brazil), Inigo Calderon (Spain), Jerry Lalrinzuala, Tondonba Singh, Laldinliana Renthlei, Zohmingliana Ralte, Hendry Antonay
Midfielders: Raphael Augusto (Brazil), Gregory Nelson (The Netherlands), Andrea Orlandi (Italy), Francisco Fernandes, Thoi Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Germanpreet Singh, Sinivasan Pandiyan, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Bedashwor Singh, Zonunmawia
Forwards: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Mohammed Rafi, Carlos Antonio Salom (Palestine)