Kolkata– The Chennaiyin FC Under-15 team commences its 2018-19 Hero Junior League play-off round against Aizawl FC at the Naihati Stadium here on Monday with kick-off at 4 PM. CFC’s other opponents in the play-off round Group B are Thane – Football School of India and Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG) Football Academy, whom they face on Wednesday 15th May and Friday 17th May respectively. CFC progressed to the play-off round of the competition after finishing 2nd in the Chennai zone. The winner of the play-off round progresses to the final round Group A, the fixtures for the same commencing on Monday 20th May in Kolkata.
If Chennaiyin do progress to the final round of the competition, they will face Bengaluru’s Stadium Sports Foundation (20th May), Minerva Punjab FC (22nd May) and Imphal’s Birachandra Memorial Sporting Club (24th May) in Group A; and compete for a place in the semis.
The CFC U-15s finished 2nd in the Chennai zone following five wins, two draws a solitary loss, finishing just a point behind FC Madras, who secured direct qualification to the final round. CFC have conceded just three goals so far, thus boasting the best defensive record in the zone. It was a team effort all over the pitch, as ten different scorers netted for CFC, with Chennai boy Mohammed Liyaakath the top scorer with six goals.
CFC will however be without Liyaakath’s services, who is away with the India U-16 team in Goa for a training camp. Liyaakath has represented the India U-16 side earlier this year and is one of many budding talents at CFC to be promoted to the U-15s from the U-13 team from last year. While Liyaakath won’t feature in the play-off round, other promoted boys will, including defender Caron Kennedy, the versatile Rahul K. Manjula and striker K. Suriya who impressed in the zonal campaign. Seven boys from the entire 20-man CFC squad for the play-off round have been promoted from the U-13s from last year. Also, all the 20 boys hail from Tamil Nadu, coming from different regions of the state.
A second consecutive year under the tutelage of Head Coach Aldroy Atkinson, the CFC U-15s will be aiming to feature again in the final round, having qualified directly in their debut season last time out after an unbeaten record in the Chennai zone.
“The U-15 boys must view the play-off round challenge as an opportunity to gain more exposure and playing time against top quality opposition. They need to stick to the basics and work hard, and the results will follow. It is also heartening to see local Tamil Nadu talent coming through our ranks and I wish the U-15s all the best for the play-off round challenge,” said Syed Sabir Pasha, Technical Director of Youth Development and First Team Assistant Coach.
Chennaiyin FC U-15s’ Squad for Hero Junior League 2018-19 Play-Off/Final Round:
Goalkeepers: Aron R. (Tuticorin), C.H.N. Amarishwar (Chennai)
Defenders: Taufiq Ahamed (Coimbatore), Aravind Karthickeyan (Chennai), Manish Kumar (Chennai), N. Sivamani (Dindigul), P. Kuganeshwaran (Chennai), Caron Kennedy (Thanjavur)
Midfielders: Rahul Manjula (Chennai), Sathish Kumar (Karaikudi), Deepak Thapamogar (Chennai), N. Suriya (Karaikudi), Harsha Vardhan R.S. (Coimbatore), Allen Rajkumar (Chennai), J. Vamsi Krishna (Chennai), Vignesh Kumar (Chennai)
Forwards: Kishore R.A. (Chennai), Yugan S. (Neyveli), V. Siddharth (Chennai), K. Suriya (Chennai)
Head Coach: Aldroy Atkinson
Chennaiyin FC U-15s’ Hero Junior League 2018-19 Play-Off Round Fixtures – Group B:
Chennaiyin FC U-15s vs Aizawl FC U-15s – 13th May 2019 – Naihati Stadium, Kolkata – 4 PM
Thane – Football School of India vs Chennaiyin FC U-15s – 15th May 2019 – Naihati Stadium, Kolkata – 8:30 AM
Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG) Football Academy vs Chennaiyin FC U-15s – 17th May 2019 – Naihati Stadium, Kolkata – 4 PM