KOCHI: Last season, the importance of Rafael Crivellaro to Chennaiyin FC was underlined by the manner in which the team struggled after their skipper suffered a serious injury. An ankle issue had ruled out the midfielder for a large part of the season and his team lost the plot after that to finish eighth in the table. Fast forward to this season and the silky skilled midfielder has put the injury horror behind him and is raring to go. “I’m 100% recovered from my injury now. All my teammates and I are looking forward to having a great season,” he said.
Crivellaro, 32, has been an integral part of the ISL outfit for the last few seasons and is enjoying his stint and feels right at home in India. “It has been a very positive experience so far. I love playing in India and in the ISL. I am looking forward to playing here for more years to come,” he said.
Chennaiyin will open their campaign against Hyderabad FC on November 23 and they will be hoping to mount a serious challenge to the likes of Mumbai City, ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC. Bozidar Bandovic has become the fourth manager in three seasons for the club which raises the question of how the team will adapt to the tactics and philosophies of a new coach when there is constant change.
“It’s always difficult when there are multiple changes. As players, we should be able to adapt to new ideas and other new players. We have to do this as quickly as possible and that’s what we are here to do.” Crivellaro is the only foreign recruit who has been retained from last season. The others including Mirlan Murzaev, Slavko Damjanovic, Ariel Borysiuk and Lukasz Gikiewicz are all new to the league. Crivellaro hopes that the players will pick up the pace but felt that they will find their feet soon.
“It’s difficult when you’re playing with mostly new players in a team. It’s always difficult in the first moments to connect with the new players. However, I think with time we can gain an understanding and link up on the pitch as well.”