Indian Super League (ISL) side Hyderabad FC is all set to embark into their second season with a renewed outlook. With a new logo, new squad, foreign club partnerships and new philosophy, The Nizams look a settled side already. One of their marquee new signings is Joel Chianese.
The Australian winger and striker talked exclusively to Sportskeeda about his playing career, Hyderabad FC's ambitions, his plans for the upcoming season, the impact of the coronavirus and much more. Here are the excerpts from the Interview:
Joel Chianese began with the impact of the lockdown imposed by the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic. He focused on the impact it has had on Australian football and especially the A-League. He said:
"COVID has affected Australian football, I guess, like it has affected many people in all lines of work around the world. It has been a shock and created financial difficulties as well. The last six weeks of the latest A-League season had to be finished in a hub format, and that was strange to many."
After playing his football at Australian football clubs like Blacktown City, Sydney FC, Sydney United, Bonnyrigg White Eagles, and Auckland City, Joel Chianese played two seasons in Malaysia with Sabah FA and Negeri Sembilan FA, before returning to Australia to play for Perth Glory. Joel Chianese spoke about the fundamental differences between both the countries in terms of club football:
"My experience in Malaysia was fantastic. I loved it to be honest. I worked alongside some other Australian players and Australian coaches Mike Mulvey and Gary Phillips. It was very different of course. The culture, the language, the food, the weather - all things that you need to adapt to quite quickly."
"You can see there are big differences between the top and bottom teams, with the local players, with their football knowledge and ability where as in Australia, a lot of the players and teams are of quite similar strengths so the league is more even."
"Also, the fields are not in the greatest condition, unlike Australia. Things like that, you need to adapt to. But overall, not a lot different. Perhaps you could say the quality of the league in Malaysia is slightly lower but when you factor in the other conditions, it is not as simple as it may seem to play there."
Joel Chianese spoke highly of the sports project and plan proposed by Hyderabad FC in the 2020-21 season. He emphasized on the fact that Hyderabad FC's approach to do well in the upcoming season attracted him the Nizams:
"I knew I was coming to Hyderabad FC a few months ago. It is something I have been excited about for a while now. The club approached me and made it clear right away that I was who they wanted. I was impressed with the plan the club had moving forward for this season, and that made my decision quite easy. I have to thank everyone who made it happen and I hope to repay them on the field."
The 2020-21 Indian Super League season will be Hyderabad FC's second season as a football club. Joel Chianese speaks about his season objectives as an individual and a team player:
"As a player, I aim to go into game one fit, strong, and ready to go. My objectives are to score and create goals, and to help the team win football games. As a team, we have a mix of youth and experience this season, with players who are hungry to succeed. I’m sure once we are all in training together with the coaches, we will discuss the goals of the team for the season. But we want to win, that is what makes all the sacrifices so much more worth it."
The Indian Super League has earned an AFC Champions League Group Stage spot since the 2019-20 season, after impressive performances by I-League and ISL teams in the continental level over the last few years. Joel Chianese is glad that ISL teams will be able to play the best clubs in Asia. He says:
"Look I don’t think it should impact Indian football at all. It is something that Australian players in the A-League have done for years and it’s just about managing the players in the right way. But I think it will be an exciting thing, more games against top opposition will surely help and that is what players want as well."
Hyderabad FC finished bottom of the league in the previous season. When asked if it means added pressure for a newcomer for him. He said:
"I don’t think it adds any pressure. I think it does quite the opposite, actually. I think this season gives a chance for me and the whole team to create something special and give the Hyderabad FC fans what they deserve."
The 2020-21 Indian Super League season will be played behind closed doors in Goa. When asked about the impact of not having fans in the stadium, Chianese said:
"Playing behind closed doors can be strange. It is a weird feeling not having crowds there at games, whether it is your fans or the opposition fans. Football needs to be played with the crowd but in this situation, we have to think about our safety first. We have to accept that and embrace it for now."
Joel Chianese has already interacted with Manager Manuel Marquez and is excited to work with the Spaniard
"Yes, of course. I have had various conversations with him. I’m looking forward to being able to work with my new coach. These are exciting times. I want to perform and improve every day."
Joel Chianese concluded the interaction with Sportskeeda by taking us through his best moments from his playing career. He said:
"I always remember my first ever goal, it is something you don’t forget and will always remain a special moment for me. But I also loved scoring the winning penalty to put us through to the grand finals in the 2018-19 A-League season, when we eventually won the minor premiership with Perth Glory."Published 17 Oct 2020, 16:39 IST