ISL 2016: Chennaiyin FC sign permanent deals with Harmanjot Singh Khabra and Raphael Augusto
Khabra was on loan from East Bengal to Chennaiyin in the first two ISL seasons but has now signed a one-year deal with the Chennai-based franchise on a permanent basis.
Brazilian Augusto joined CFC on loan from Brazilian giants Fluminense during ISL 2015 but has now signed for Marco Materazzi’s side on a free transfer for the 2016 ISL campaign.
Khabra is the joint-most capped Indian player for Chennaiyin with 27 appearances and has four assists over the two seasons. Although primarily a central midfielder, the 27-year-old from Punjab has also featured as fullback for CFC and is considered to be the club’s Mr. Versatile.
Augusto was instrumental in Chennaiyin reaching the playoffs in ISL 2015 as he made 12 appearances and was rated third among most successful tackles. The 25-year-old’s all-round game from central midfield was second to none in the league so it was unfortunate that he got injured in Chennaiyin’s last home match in the league stage against Mumbai City FC and missed the rest of the tournament.
Coach Materazzi regularly picked the central midfield pairing of Khabra and Augusto last season and he expressed his delight on retaining the duo for the title defence.
“We are happy to have Khabra and Raphael back. Khabra was a very important player for us in the first two seasons and he can only get better. Raphael was one of the best players of ISL 2015 until his injury. I have faith in him to come back even stronger this year,” said Materrazi.
“Chennaiyin FC is my second family. I have spent two wonderful years with the franchise as I have got great love and support from everyone at the club starting from the owners to the coach, staff, teammates and of course the fans. We worked really hard to have two consistent campaigns and especially last year we showed great character to become champions. This year it is going to be even tougher to retain the title but we will back ourselves to go all the way again,” said Khabra.
“I am so happy to have signed for Chennaiyin again. I would like to thank the owners and coach for believing in me again. I have played outside Brazil in the past but the spell I had at Chennaiyin has been the best of my career. I know I can play even better and that will be my objective and the fantastic environment at the club will push me towards that target. I hope to play the full season this time and make the SuperMachans happy by keeping the trophy in Chennai,” Augusto stated.