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Chennaiyin winger Lallianzuala Chhangte seeks to add end product to his game

A right-footed left-winger who enjoys cutting in from the flank and dribbling past defenders with his bristling energy, what has let the 24-year-old from Mizoram down at times is his end product

Published: 25th September 2021 12:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2021 12:13 AM   |  A+A-

Lallianzuala Chhangte 7 of Chennaiyin Football club and Eduardo Garcia Martin 10 of ATK vie for the ball during their ISL Match in Kolkata Sunday Feb. 16 2020.

Lallianzuala Chhangte 7 of Chennaiyin Football club and Eduardo Garcia Martin 10 of ATK vie for the ball during their ISL Match in Kolkata Sunday Feb. 16 2020. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: For a couple of seasons now, Chennaiyin’s Lallianzuala Chhangte has seemed to be on the cusp of realising his long-held promise and occupying a prominent role for both club and country.

A right-footed left-winger who enjoys cutting in from the flank and dribbling past uncertain defenders with his bristling energy, what has let the 24-year-old from Mizoram down at times is his end product. In essence, he needs to deliver more goals and pinpoint crosses for the strikers to latch onto.

As Chhangte gears up for another roller-coaster season with Chennaiyin FC — his third with the two-time ISL champions — he is homing in on bettering those aspects of his game. He will have to given that Chennaiyin struggled to put the ball in the back of the net last season. And as new coach Bozidar Bandovic has already pointed out, goals will have to come not just from the strikers but also the likes of Chhangte.

“When I look at some of my videos, I think I have all the ability to score goals and get chances too. But I need more confidence. That is what I am going to come up with this year. Goals were an issue last season. But I hope this year will be different with the help of my coach and new teammates. This is an area where we must be improving,” Chhangte said during a virtual interaction with this daily on Friday, a couple of days before Chennaiyin start their pre-season in Goa.

One of the possible challenges for Chhangte and the other Indian players is the heavy turnover of foreign players at the club this season. Apart from attacking midfielder Rafael Crivellaro, all the other foreigners in the team are fresh recruits and it can’t be easy for the Indian players to be able to forge an understanding within just a few weeks. Chhangte, though, seems game for the challenge, suggesting that it is up to the Indian players to adapt and gel with players who come with solid CVs.

“The foreign players come with so much experience. It is up to the Indian players to play with them and gel with them. The club is bringing in good foreign players. If we can train with them for 2-3 weeks, we can build a strong bond together. For me, there is no problem at all,” said Chhangte.

Chhangte’s confidence will be comforting for Bandovic, who has the unenviable task of helping Chennaiyin rebuild and getting them back in contention for the ISL title. The Mizoram youngster knows that a string of robust performances will also catch the eye of India coach Igor Stimac as he seeks to nail down a regular spot in India’s starting XI.

“My main objective is to be better than the previous year. I am going to give my very best for the club to also try and get back into the national team regularly. That is one of my big goals and I need to work hard on the training ground. I want to be at my best starting from pre-season itself.”



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