I-League 2018/19: Chennai City FC Season Preview, Squad, Probable XI, Prediction.
Chennai City FC will kick off their new campaign against Indian Arrows on October 26th at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Coimbatore after finishing 8th with 19 points during the last season of the I-League.
The I-League outfit have named the Singaporean Akbar Nawas as their new coach to replace Soundararajan who did not have a particularly good season last time around. Since the inception of the club, the Indian side hasn't tasted any success till date and the mentality within the squad is high to finish as high as possible. Minerva Punjab arose as unexpected winners last season, and Chennai City FC will be aiming to do just that in the forthcoming campaign.
Chennai City played just two pre-season games, winning and drawing apiece against the Indian Super League sides Bengaluru FC and Pune City FC respectively.
Chennai City FC Provisional Squad:
The Tamil Nadu based side have been too busy in the transfer market. They have lost their home ground talents including the likes of Sinivasan Pandiyan, Nandha Kumar, Pradeep Mohanraj and Soorairaj Michael to Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos and Jamshedpur FC respectively. However, the likes of Pedro Manzi, Sandro Rodriguez, and Roberto Eslava have made their way to the I-League outfit. They have not released their full squad yet.
Goalkeepers: Kabir Thaufiq, Tenzin Samdup, Dinesh J.
Defenders: Tarif Akhand, Roberto Eslava Suarez, Ajith Kumar, Sriram, Shahbaz Alam, Clintu Cleetus, Prem Kumar, Mashoor Shereef Thangalakath.
Midfielders: Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Vijay Ponnurangam, Gaurav Bora, Soundrapandiyan Rajapandi, Pravitto Raju, Karthik Govindswamy, Nestor Benitez, Romario Alexander, Sandro Rodriguez Felipe, Charles Anandraj, Regin Michael.
Forwards: Pedro Manzi Cruz, Ameerudeen.
Chennai City FC Coach:
Additionally, there has been a change in the managerial position which sees the Singaporean Akbar Nawas come in for Soundararajan. The new coach has the experience of guiding his old side Tampines Rovers to the Quarter finals of the AFC Cup in 2016.
A year later, he took over the Filipino side Global Cebu FC and spent the whole season before Chennai City FC came calling for the services of the 42-year-old this March. Alongside him, Spanish Jordi Vila was appointed, but he headed back to his homeland when he received a suitable offer on the table. This forced the club to appoint Balagumaran as the deputy to Nawas.
Rohit Ramesh, the owner of Chennai City FC has his full trust on the Chennai City FC coach, "We expect Akbar to help in building the club."
Chennai City FC Probable XI:
Akbar Nawas' side adopts a formidable 4-3-3 formation which enables the attackers with enough freedom to roam around and get involved in plenty of goals. The young shot-stopper Kabir Thaufiq is expected to start between the sticks for this side. Shahbaz Alam and Mashoor Shereef Thangalakath are likely to start as center-backs, whereas Clintu Cleetus and Roberto Eslava Suarez might be forced wide to start as full-backs to provide width for the team.
In the absence of Sinivasan Pandiyan, Karthik Govindswamy is expected to step up his gear to shield the back four. Additionally, Edwin Sydney and Nestor Benitez could be the other players in the middle of the park. They have the capability to chip in goals and make things happen with their link-up play with the forwards.
The 21-year-old right winger Romario Alexander who made 15 appearances last season, is expected to retain his place in the starting eleven, and the new signing from Spanish fourth division outfit Sandro Rodriguez Felipe will start through the other flank with Pedro Manzi Cruz expected to lead the line for Chennai City FC.
Predictions for Chennai City FC?
Chennai City FC have strengthened all over the pitch, starting from the goalkeeper to the striker. They have done well to bring in many players despite losing some of their star players. It will be a tough challenge for the Tamil Nadu outfit, but they will be looking to put in consistent displays to gain good results.
There is no doubt about the quality available within the team. The side which has finished 8th last season is looking to finish as high as possible. Additionally, the players have high aspirations and are ready to fight throughout the season.