Former Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC has announced the signing of 32-year-old Masih Saighani on a free transfer for the 2019-20 campaign. The versatile former Afghanistan international can deploy as a central defensive midfielder or central defender and has previous experience of playing in India with Aizawl FC. Saighani joins Chennaiyin FC after a season-long stint at Bangladeshi side Abahani Dhaka Limited.
“It will be an honour to play for Chennaiyin FC, Head Coach John Gregory and the club’s fantastic supporters. I am very thankful for this opportunity. CFC and the Indian Super League have always impressed me, and I am excited to participate in the tournament. Moreover, I can’t wait to play in front of the Chennaiyin FC fans. A team is always as strong as its supporters, and CFC are extremely strong in that regard. The fans can be certain that I along with the rest of the team will put our best foot forward,” the new CFC signing said in eager anticipation.
Head Coach John Gregory remarked in satisfaction over the club’s latest arrival. “Masih (Saighani) is an experienced player who ticks all the boxes for us. He has an imposing physical presence, is lethal in the air and is extremely comfortable on the ball. He can contribute defensively and build up play going forward as well. And most importantly, he is hungry to help Chennaiyin taste success again. We are excited to see him proudly don the CFC blue!” the gaffer said.
Saighani is a former Afghanistan international, and was a member of the Afghan side that finished runners-up in the 2015 SAFF Championship, losing to India in the final. He scored twice in that tournament. Having moved with his family to Germany from Afghanistan at a very young age, Saighani played for more than a decade in the German lower divisions before his move to Aizawl FC ahead of the 2017-18 I-League season. He also appeared for them in the AFC Champions League qualifier, AFC Cup and Super Cup subsequently, before his move to Abahani Dhaka.
Saighani has crossed paths with Chennaiyin FC with his former clubs, most recently with Abahani in the AFC Cup last season. He also scored against Chennaiyin FC in Abahani’s 3-2 win in Bangladesh. With Aizawl FC, Saighani faced Chennaiyin FC in the 2018 Super Cup round-of-16, which the former won on penalties. Prior to that, he also featured for Aizawl FC in a closed-door 1-0 friendly defeat against Chennaiyin FC ahead of the 2017-18 season. He is reunited with one of his teammates from then at Aizawl, in young Chennaiyin FC right back Laldinliana Renthlei.