ISL: Chennaiyin FC confirm participation of Thapa, 9 other Indian players
Two-time ISL champions Chennaiyin FC have confirmed the participation of star mid-fielder Anirudh Thapa and nine other Indian players for the upcoming season of the Indian Super League
ISL 2017-18 winner Thapa, who joined the club as an 18-year-old in 2016, is currently on a multi-year contract and is set for a fifth campaign and beyond in Chennaiyin blue.
Winner of the 2018 AIFF Men's Emerging Player of the Year award, Thapa is joined by compatriots Thoi Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Sinivasan Pandiyan, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Vishal Kaith, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Deepak Tangri and Rahim Ali for the 2020-21 campaign as they all have existing contracts. Versatile mid-fielder Abhijit Sarkar is also set to return to the CFC ranks after a successful loan spell at East Bengal in the I-League last season.
Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani said, "We are delighted to have the core of our squad continuing with us. Our commitment is to build on the previous campaign in the strongest fashion.
"And the presence of our key Indian players, including the likes of Thapa, will go a long way in achieving that. It has been particularly pleasing to see Thapa's rise in stature for both club and country, that too at such a young age.
"He has gone from strength to strength since joining us four years back as a teenager and has now firmly established himself as an integral part of the first-team setup," he added.
With 68 appearances for CFC in all competitions already, Thapa is looking forward to the new season. "All of us at CFC are hungrier than ever to win silverware again. But for that, we need to work incredibly hard and be prepared for the new season. We need to retain the mentality that took us to the final last season."
"I can't wait to get back on the ball and begin training with my teammates," said the 24-time capped India international Thapa, who is also the ISL's youngest goalscorer in play-off matches after having netted in the 2017-18 semis against FC Goa, aged 20.
ISL has officially confirmed that the 2020-21 campaign will be held in Goa with Chennaiyin to play their nine home games at the GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim.
They will be sharing the venue with Mumbai City FC, Kerala Blasters FC, and Odisha FC, meaning the three away games against these opponents will also be played there.