Wednesday , October 5 2022

Thomas Brdaric’s new look Chennaiyin FC ready to make competitive debut!

A new dawn is set to usher for Chennaiyin FC as they look to blend under the German influence of Thomas Brdaric in their first Durand Cup game on Saturday, August 20.

The team’s opener in the army-run tournament will be against Army Red in a Group C match that is set to kick off at 3pm.

It will also be the first real test for the incoming boss, who has already expressed his intentions of introducing the players to a new style of football.

The 131st edition of the Durand Cup, Asia’s oldest football tournament, will not only provide Brdaric with an opportunity to try out multiple combinations and players but should also give him a deep insight into the depth of the team that has been assembled.

“We have a big squad. The season is quite long and we need all players. Our target (in Durand Cup) is to work on our development. We have worked hard and been focused in training sessions. But it will be our first competitive match tomorrow and we will see where we are,” Brdaric tells Chennaiyin FC’s media team.

Chennaiyin FC are placed in Group C, alongside reigning Indian Super League champions Hyderabad FC, I-League teams TRAU FC and NEROCA, and Army Red.

“We are inspired to challenge all our opponents and each match is a different game. We have to come up smart with a good match plan. To play in a competition like this is a good place to start. Fans are back. It’s a perfect start to see where we are and we must show everybody who we are,” the German further expressed.

The Durand Cup could also give a fair bit of an idea regarding the style of football that the fans can expect from their team in the season ahead.

The 30-man squad for the Durand Cup will be spearheaded by India internationals Anirudh Thapa, Rahim Ali and Narayan Das besides some exciting new signings — Vincy Barretto, Ajith Kumar, Jiteshwor Singh and Sajal Bag.

With an influx of five new foreign signings — Vafa Hakhamaneshi, Fallou Diagne, Julius Düker, Petar Sliskovic and Kwame Karikari, alongside youngsters like Senthamizh, Md. Aqib and Chris White, it remains to be seen how they adapt and fit into the Brdaric era.

It will also be the first time that the two-time ISL champions will be playing at the Khuman Lampak Stadium, which is situated at a slightly higher altitude.

“We adapted to the conditions well and everybody is contributing in a professional way to be a part of this new unit wherever we play. We’ve already been training in two different cities, so adapting won’t be an issue,” the former Germany international explained.

The tournament will also provide the coach with an opportunity to test his team’s bench strength in the absence of some key players.

“We have some issues to solve with missing players but this is our challenge and we have to cope with it the best we can. Football is a hard sport and it’s normal to deal with issues.

“Rafique, Saurav and Romario aren’t with us in Imphal as you may know. They are on the road to recovery,” Brdaric signed off.

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