CHENNAI: You do see late replacements in high-profile sporting events in India, but it’s not very commonplace to see twin changes in personnel immediately into a marquee event, where these lists are supposed to be finalised in advance.
Four days after their first game against FC Goa and with just hours left for their home bow against Kerala Blasters, Chennaiyin FC have changed their squad around. Out goes Swedish midfielder Pierre Tillman and Spanish striker Eduardo Silva Lerma, thanks to what club officials described as “technical issues with contracts” and in comes former Manchester United midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba and former PSG forward Jean Maurice Edu.
“We are happy to sign Djemba-Djemba and Maurice. Both are top players and will add plenty of quality and experience to our team. We are also sad that Tillman and Eduardo are leaving and wish them well for the future,” said Chennaiyin FC manager-player Marco Materazzi.
While the captures of 33-year-old Djemba-Djemba, last seen turning out for St Mirren in Scotland, and Edu will justifiably dominate headlines, the termination of Tillman’s contract has added a distasteful subplot to the development, with the Swedish midfielder looking to sue the club. It’s learnt Tillman was released because he was signed from Swedish club Varbergs FC on September 16, two weeks after the ISL deadline for inter-club transfers which closed on August 31. Tillman had travelled with the squad to Goa for Chennaiyin’s first game, but had not been included in the match day squad of 18.
Chennaiyin officials were unwilling to confirm why Tillman’s contract was terminated, but reiterated they had done no wrong.
“The situation is that the player has made a breach of contract. We are going out of our way to ensure an amicable solution, so that the reputation and the career of the player is not hampered. If the player or his agent wants to sue, then let him. We have done no wrong from our side,” Chennaiyin officials told TNIE.