Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi has the Indian Super League 2.0 final in sight, as he looks forward to an all-important month-long preseason training camp with his side in Perugia, Italy.
The training is expected to start on 23 August, and the Indian players will be leaving for the much-needed trip on Saturday, 22 August. The foreign players of the side will be joining the training camp at Ellera, Corciano Town Council, Perugia, directly from their respective countries.
The Chennai-based ISL franchisee are slated to play at least four friendly games, which might include various lower division Italian teams.
Needless to say that the brainchild of the whole trip is Materazzi as the former Italy defensive rock believes that the training facilities, the environment and the quality of teams they play against in the tour will help them immensely prior to the ISL 2015, which starts on 3 October.
"Pre-season is very important for the success of any football team in the world. Last year due to unavoidable circumstances we didn't get too much time to prepare for the ISL," the World Cup winner with Italy told ISL's official site.
"Although the players still made me and the whole franchise proud with their efforts and performances, eventually everyone could see that we had too many injuries. So a full pre-season will make a massive difference to our physical, tactical and mental preparation ahead of the new season.
"The training facilities, environment and quality of opposition in Perugia will help us immensely in getting ready for the upcoming ISL campaign. The first day of training in Perugia will be our first step in the road to the final on December 20," he said.
The Chennai side stood the leaders in the regular league season at ISL 2014, but their journey to the finals was halted by fellow Southern Indian side Kerala Blasters in the semis.
"Last year we didn't have much time to prepare for the inaugural season of the ISL as our franchise was the last to join the league. As soon as the 2014 ISL ended, we were determined to have a full-fledged pre-season camp this time," Chennaiyin FC CEO Ashish Shah said.
"Following discussions with our manager Marco Materazzi and his technical staff and the owners, we were convinced that it was important to be in an environment where we not only get top-class facilities to train but also play preparatory matches against strong opposition.
"Perugia in Italy perfectly fitted that requirement and we are now all looking forward to the start of the pre-season. It will be a great learning experience for our Indian boys as many of them will be getting the chance to train and play in Europe for the very first time. It will also help create a good understanding between our domestic and foreign players both on and off the pitch," Shah added.
Materazzi's side open their campaign in the ISL this year on the inaugural day against defending champions Atletico de Kolkata.