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ISL: Analysing Chennaiyin FC's Indian contingent ahead of ISL 2021-22

Chennaiyin FC have operated well in the transfer market bagging both Indians and foreigners of immense quality. Here we will discuss about their Indian contingent and their strengths and weaknesses.

ISL: Analysing Chennaiyin FCs Indian contingent ahead of ISL 2021-22

Jerry Lalrinzuala, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Ninthoi Meetei. 


Sattyik Sarkar

Published: 17 Oct 2021 4:46 PM GMT

RThe seventh edition of the Indian Super League wasn't quite fascinating for Chennaiyin FC, who made an eighth-placed finish with just 20 points to their name. They scored 17 goals and went on to concede 23. They missed out on their captain Rafael Crivellaro for a long time during the season and somehow the entire team didn't perform the way they were expected to. However, this season they have signed a few Indian footballers and five new foreigners and the team looks exceptionally good on paper. Before the two times champions take the field, let's have a look at their Indian contingent and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.


Chennaiyin FC have a formidable squad with a good squad depth. They have efficient options in all the four positions of the field. Secondly, their Indian contingent comprises of responsible and impactful footballers like Anirudh Thapa, Jobby Justin, Rahim Ali, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Debjit Majumder, Vishal Kaith, Reagan Singh, Salam Ranjan Singh and others whose combination with the foreigners will make the team even more stronger than what it already looks on paper. Lastly, they have appointed Bozidar Bandovic as their new head coach who received immense success at Buriram United F.C. The 52-year-old will be looking forward to do the same with the Marina Machans and bring them their lost glory back.


Chennaiyin FC conceded 23 goals last season and in return netted just 17 times. They would be eager to score more and concede less this time around. They have brought in foreigners in the attacking third alongside Jobby Justin. How Jobby gets himself back into shape (as he hardly played last season due to an injury) and delivers will be noticed once the team take the field. Same goes for Salam Ranjan Singh in defence. It is expected that the 25-year-old will make it into the starting eleven but how he manages to get himself accustomed to the ISL will be noticed once the side takes the field.


The three Indian footballers to look forward to will be Lallianzuala Chhangte, Jerry Lalrinzuala and Salam Ranjan Singh. The 24-year-old midfielder, Lallianzuala Chhangte, appeared in all of Chennaiyin FC's matches last season and went on to score 4 goals and provide an assist. He took 38 shots and made 62 crosses apart from passing the ball 699 times. Although he's a left-winger, he was mostly used as a left-midfielder last season and in the process, he made 55 tackles, 17 interceptions and 23 blocks. Coming on to Jerry Lalrinzuala, the left-back who had won the Emerging Player of the League award in 2016 appeared 19 times last seaosn for the Marina Machans. Throughout the campaign he made committed 66 tackles, cleared the ball 29 times and made 33 blocks. The competition for the left-back position will be there as the management has also brought in Narayan Das from SC East Bengal but it is expected that Bandovic will select young Jerry in that role. The last name here is of Salam Ranjan Singh. Though a promising centre-back, Singh hardly got any chance at ATK Mohun Bagan last season; he only had 44 minutes to his name. But this time, he'll be looking forward to prove himself. With the number of on-field foreigners being reduced, it is probable that Singh will get a chance to display his skills.

Salam Ranjan Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Jerry Lalrinzuala.


There are three very important youngsters upon whom the fans can place their bet on. The first name is of Anirudh Thapa. Thapa is the vice-captain of the Chennaiyin FC side and is a reliable custodian at the middle of the park. His impact is immense and his quality is unquestionable. Last season, he appeared in 14 matches and netted the ball home twice. He made 425 passes and had a passing accuracy of 69.17%. Apart from these statistics, Thapa also took 16 shots at goal and made 30 tackles and 30 interceptions. The statistics prove his hard working ability in the midfield region and it is expected that he will be a part of the starting line-up for the Marina Machans. The second name on the list is of Rahim Ali. The 21-year-old centre forward was a part of the Indian squad in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. Last season, Ali scored 2 goals in 16 appearances for the team. Although he is preferably a centre forward, last season he was also used as a right-midfielder and a right-winger. Along with Anirudh Thapa, Rahim Ali was also a part of the Indian squad in the recent SAFF Championship in which India defeated Nepal in the final and lifted the title for the eighth time. The last name is of Khumanthem Ninthoinganba Meetei. Ninthoi is a new arrival at the club and similar to Rahim Ali, he too, was a part of the Indian squad in the FIFA U-17 World Cup held in India in 2017. The right-winger made 13 appearances for NorthEast United FC last season in which he started in 6 matches and came on as a substitute in 7. This season he will be hoping to grab a place in Chennaiyin FC's starting eleven and perform his best for the team.

Rahim Ali, Anirudh Thapa and Ninthoi Meetei.

Whom do you think will turn out to be the best Indian footballer for Chennaiyin FC this season?

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