I have faith in my players: Materazzi

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I have faith in my players: Materazzi

Posted on : Friday 30th of September 2016

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Defending champion Chennaiyin FC, which announced its squad for the Hero-Indian Super League at a gala function here on Thursday, looks midfield-heavy, with as many as 12 players vying for a place in the team. This gives head coach Marco Materazzi a host of options to exercise. Or will it be a problem of plenty?

On the other hand, the absence of Elano Blumer, the 2014 Golden Boot award winner who has rejoined Brazilian club Santos FC, star striker John Stiven Mendoza (plying his trade with New York City FC in Major League Soccer) and Bruno Pelissari (moved to Delhi Dynamos) has definitely taken the sheen off its attack.

Materazzi, who personally chose the team for the third edition, said, “we should be worried about the players who are here and (not) those who helped us win the title last year.

“We are going to defend the title with or without Elano and Mendoza.

“I have faith in my players and we are going to give all we can to do it again.”

To a question as to whether the crowd could look forward to seeing the local players N. Mohanraj and Dhanpal Ganesh play, Materazzi said, “I don’t care where the players come from. Whoever deserves to play will play.”

John Arne Riise, who replaced Elano as the marquee player, said he would like to be “a role model for youngsters.”

This time, in a novel move, Chennaiyin has roped in five youngsters from the All India Football Federation Academy. Materazzi said they are all ready to play.

The last edition saw players arguing with referees and as a result, the team found itself at the bottom of the ‘Fair Play award’ section, but for Materazzi that is not a concern at all.

“The only thing I cannot guarantee to my players and anyone is that we are not going to win the discipline award. Last year we were the team which scored most number of goals (32) and won the title. If you are looking for a coach who wants to win the discipline award, just tell me and I am going to leave,” he said.

The squad: Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, Pawan Kumar, Duwayne Kerr (Jamaica).

Defenders: Abhishek Das, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Dhanachandra Singh, Nallappan Mohanraj, Jerry Lalrinzuala (developmental player), Eli Sabia (Brazil), Eder Monteiro (Brazil), Bernard Mendy (France), John Arne Riise (Norway).

Midfielders: Raphael Augusto (Brazil), Hans Mulder (Netherlands), Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Dhanpal Ganesh, Zakeer Mundampara, Siam Hanghal, Baljit Sahni, Thoi Singh, Anirudh Thapa (developmental player), Bodo Baoringdao (developmental player), Bedashwor Singh (developmental player), Manuele Blasi (Italy).

Forwards: David Succi (Italy), Maurizio Peluso (Italy), Prosenjit Chakraborty (developmental player), Uttam Rai (developmental player), Jayesh Rane, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Dudu Omagbemi (Nigeria).

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