CHENNAI: Chennayin FC, the defending Indian Super League champions, got a major boost to this year’s campaign with Lloyd Electric and Engineering Ltd joining the team as associate sponsors.
Nipun Singhal, Director of Lloyd, announced the deal in the presence of Vita Dani, co-owner of Chennaiyin FC, at a function attended by several players of the team.
“We had a good training session in Italy. There is absolutely no undue pressure on the boys to defend the crown. They are professionals. We are eager and will certainly give our best to retain the cup,” said Dani.
“Our team has a good mix and we will certainly do well. India ODI captain MS Dhoni will be here to support our team,” she added.
Star players Stiven John Mendoza and Elano will be missed this year, as their respective clubs have refused to release them. As replacement, Chennaiyin have brought in Dudu Omagbemi, an experienced striker, in place of Mendoza.
Young Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua is optimistic.
“They (Elano, Mendoza) were experienced. But we still have quality players in our ranks and we can do well,” he said.
Dudu, on whom expectations of the Chennai crowd will be big to deliver, is confident that his team will do well.
“The team has been preparing well. We have a good side and are confident,” said the Nigerian, insisting that he is under no undue pressure.
After winning the title last year, star co-owner Abhishek Bachchan had said that he hoped to see local boys get more opportunities. Dhanpal Ganesh is excited and is hoping to get a game this season.
“We had a fantastic training stint abroad. It is a novel experience and I have come out richer in experience after that. For long, I wanted to train with Sabir Pasha. This camp gave me that opportunity. I hope to play this season. I am sure our team will perform to potential like last year,” said the defensive midfielder.
“At the camp we tried to get better in core skills and fitness. The message is to stay mentally focussed and take one match at a time in a long tournament like this,” added Dhanpal.