Chennaiyin FC’s India star Anirudh Thapa on Saturday said the team was preparing in the right earnest under a new coach ahead of the 2022-23 season of the Indian Super League.
“This season, I have to work even harder to achieve objectives, especially when it comes to goals and assists. Individually, I look forward to the coming season,” he told reporters here on the sidelines of the launch of CFC’s new jersey.
“This year, we will reach the final and bring the trophy back and will play in the AFC cup. All of us missed playing at the Marina Arena and the atmosphere there. We are really excited to be back at the home field with you guys there. We will be doing our best for the city and the team,” he added.
The midfielder said the team for the upcoming season has a good mix of youth and experience.
“The team is good. Many of the Indian players in the team are young. The foreigners are experienced. We have a good squad. From what I have seen, all are working hard. We are hoping for the best,” he added.
He further said new coach Thomas Brdaric is working hard, which is a positive sign.
“He (coach) works hard. He wants us to run (a lot), which we lacked last season. That is a positive sign. It is difficult for foreigners to adjust to the climate. He is ensuring we stay fit. We have just started training. We are working more on our fitness,” Thapa added.
About playing in the Durand Cup ahead of the new ISL season, Thapa said: “We need game time to get used to the style that the coach wants us to play. Rafa was out (for long), he also needs game time. These matches are important to get together and get along well with other players (on the field).
“Durand Cup is different and ISL is different. We know the value of ISL. Durand Cup is important. We will not be playing for fun. We will see what all we need to do in ISL via the Durand Cup,” he said.
Chennaiyin FC Co-owner Vita Dani said she expected the team to prove itself under Thomas’ (new coach Brdaric) guidance.
“You know what sport teaches us the most? (It teaches us ) how to deal with and learn from defeat. I think that there is no better time to come back to our home town and prove ourselves under Thomas’ leadership. I really hope for the best,” Thapa said.
“I think that we will do much better. The last two-and-a-half years have been difficult for all of us, including the players who had to stay in the bubble (for two seasons). I am sure that they will only excel in the upcoming season. We have full faith in Thomas’s abilities.”
The club unveiled their kits for the 2022-23 season with all three kits home, away and third being designed by fans following a contest conducted earlier this year.
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