Indian Super League holders Chennaiyin FC are delighted to announce the signing of Brazilian defender Eli Sabia on a one-year contract. The 29-year-old center-back makes a comeback to the club, having made 11 appearances for CFC in the 2016 ISL campaign. He last played for Al-Raed FC in the Saudi Arabian top tier.
“I am very happy to return to Chennaiyin FC. I always felt at home during my first stint with the club, and I am looking forward to working with John (Gregory) and my teammates. I know many of the boys from before and can see that the family atmosphere within the club has remained intact. Even though I moved to another country I had been following the team’s fortunes last season so I am determined to help the club retain the title and can’t wait to meet the fans back home in Chennai,” said a buzzing Eli on his return to the club.
Head Coach John Gregory shared his satisfaction on the new signing, “Eli is physically strong and has a commanding presence at the back. He has played for the club before and knows what it means to be wearing these colours. He was playing in one of the top leagues of Asia and has all the qualities to play an integral role in our title defence.”
Hailing from Sao Paulo, Eli began his career at local club Paulista, progressing through the youth ranks before appearing for the senior team. He had several high-profile loan spells during his time at Paulista, with one of them at Swiss top division outfit FC Lausanne in 2007-08 besides stints at Brazilian giants Santos and Atletico Paranaense.
Following his first-ever season in Indian football back in the third season of the ISL, Eli moved to Brazilian club Sertaozinho FC before switching to Al-Raed in Saudi Arabia. Eli returns to CFC on the back of 21 league appearances for Al-Raed which also saw him score one goal.
The defender has already joined the pre-season training base of the two-time ISL champions in Malaysia and was presented the number 13 jersey by coach Gregory on Saturday.