ISL Transfers: Chennaiyin FC retain Eli Sabia for upcoming season
Former Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC have successfully retained defender Eli Sabia for another season, the club announced via a statement on Saturday. The Brazilian will remain at the club for till the completion of 2019-20 season.
This will be a huge boost for the two-time ISL champions who endured a difficult season last time. They were the only team who failed to touch double-digits on the points table, having finished with nine points.
Sabia played all the 18 matches for Chennaiyin FC last season and was among the best players for them on the field. Chennaiyin bid adieu to their star player Mailson Alves a few days ago and signed another proven performer in Lucian Goian from Mumbai City.
Together with Goian, Sabia can build a formidable partnership. Both of them have good physique and the ability to face the best strikers in the league.
“I am very happy to continue with the club I love so much. In this new season, along with my teammates, we will work hard to achieve what our fans deserve. We are a champion club and we will be back at the top.
“I would like to thank Chennaiyin FC for giving me this opportunity to do my best again. I am also grateful to all the fans who are always by mine and the club’s side. Together we are stronger, together we are all a family at Chennaiyin FC,” Eli was quoted as saying in the club statement.
Coach John Gregory was also elated after Sabia’s extension. He said, “Eli was a standout player for us in what was otherwise a difficult season. His commitment and prowess in defence has been exemplary, and he has always been a thorough professional. He has a very calm demeanor and is extremely comfortable on the ball. He also poses a serious threat going forward. We are really happy to see him continue for another season with the club.”
Sabia spent most of his primary years playing for different clubs in Brazil, including a loan spell at Santos. He signed for Chennaiyin in 2016 but went back to Brazil again the following year to play for Sertaozinho. After a brief spell at Saudi Arabian club Al-Raed, he re-signed for Chennaiyin last year.
Of the 40 matches that he played, Sabia scored two goals, including one against Nepalese club Manang Marshyangdi in the AFC Cup, which was a brilliant solo effort.
It was due to his brilliance that Chennaiyin FC kept seven clean sheets across AFC Cup and Super Cup last season.