Indian Super League franchisee Chennaiyin FC have completed the signing of Atletico de Kolkata duo Apoula Edel Bete and Fikru Teferra Lemessa for the upcoming edition of the lucrative league, starting on 3 October.
The Cameroon-born Armenian goalkeeper and the Ethiopian forward have been instrumental for the Kolkata-based franchisee in the last edition of the ISL, as the Sourav Ganguly co-owned side went on to win the title after defeating Kerala Blasters in the final.
Former Italy defender Marco Materazzi, who is the Head Coach of the Chennai-based franchisee, has mentioned that the side are happy with the signing of the duo as they have proved to be highly consistent performers for Atletico in the last edition.
"We are very happy to have signed Edel and Fikru for the 2015 ISL," the 2006 FIFA World Cup winner said.
"They were both highly consistent performers last year and of course won the ISL. They were two of the best foreign players of the first ISL with Edel doing some outstanding goalkeeping throughout the tournament and Fikru had a great presence upfront with clinical finishing.
"The duo will add plenty of quality and experience in our squad."
Edel, who appeared in nine games for ATK in the last edition and kept four clean sheets, has had spells with French giants Paris Saint-Germain earlier in his career. He is fondly known for his memorable save in the 83rd minute of the ISL 2014 final.
After his ISL stint, Edel went on to play for Israeli outfit Hapoel Tel Aviv. Looking forward to his second ISL stint, the Armenian has mentioned that he is keen on playing under the tutelage of Materazzi, and is also looking forward to lift the title with the Chennai outfit in this edition.
"I had a great experience playing in India last year and I am thankful to Chennaiyin FC for providing me the chance to come back again this time," the 29-year-old custodian said.
"Chennaiyin FC were one of the most competitive teams of the first ISL so I am delighted to have joined them and it will be an honour playing under World Cup winner Materazzi. I still remember the game against Chennaiyin in Chennai.
"The atmosphere was electric so it will be great to have such home support this time. I won the ISL last year and I want to lift the trophy with Chennaiyin this time."
Fikru, a former captain for the Ethiopia national side, netted five goals for Antonio Habas' side in the last edition out of 12 appearances. He also holds the distinction of being the player to score the inaugural goal of the Indian Super League.
The Ethiopian forward, who went on to play with South African outfit Bidvest Wits, following the end of ISL 2014, also says that playing under Materazzi is something he is looking forward to, and is keen on bettering his performances this year.
"I am delighted to have joined Chennaiyin FC as the opportunity to work with the legendary Materazzi is something you can't turn down," Fikru said.
"Playing in the ISL was one of the best experiences of my career. I still can't forget the moment when I scored the first goal in the competition's history. I want to perform even better this time and make Chennaiyin FC the champions.
"Chennaiyin were the most consistent team in the league stage and they enjoyed great support throughout the tournament. I can't wait to get started with CFC."
The Chennai-based franchisee, owned by Vita Dani, Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan, and Indian Cricketer MS Dhoni start their campaign this year against defending champions ATK on 3 October at home.