Chennaiyin FC have their eyes set on defending the Indian Super League (ISL) crown and becoming the only team in the history of the football tournament to win the title twice. Veteran Italy defender Marco Materazzi is once again back as the head coach of the ISL franchisee to maintain the team's consistency.
The aim of the South Indian side is to continue playing in the same way they started off from the very first season. Unlike other teams who have experimented with various coaches, Chennaiyin FC, co-owned by Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and cricket star MS Dhoni, have managed to retain the services of Materazzi for two-straight seasons.
Chennaiyin had a stellar season last time around, especially in the knockouts of ISL 2015, where Stiven Mendoza turned out to be the star. It will be a real miss for the football side this time around as the hotshot Colombian forward has decided to continue his loan spell with New York City FC in the Major League Soccer (MLS) and has given the ISL a miss.
Nevertheless, the football side have roped in a lot of key players this time around, apart from retaining the majority of players from their first two seasons like Bernard Mendy and Jeje Lalpekhlua.
Apart from Mendoza, another big miss will be goalkeeper Edel Bete, who signed for FC Pune City this time around. Bete was an undisputed star for Chennaiyin the last time around, but his absence has been covered by Materazzi's side as they have roped in Duwayne Kerr from Jamaica.
Like every year, Chennaiyin FC are undergoing their pre-season preparations in Perugia, Italy. So far, they have played three practice matches and have recorded victories in all of them.
ASD Torogoano 2-4 Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin FC 3-1 Paolo Rossi Academia
ASD Gualdo Casacastalda 0-1 Chennaiyin FC
List of foreign players
John Arne Riise (marquee), Duwayne Kerr, Eli Sabiá, Dudu Omagbemi, Maurizio Peluso, Davide Succi, Bernard Mendy, Eder Monteiro, Manuele Blasi, Hans Mulder and Raphael Augusto.