Chennai: A rejuvenated Chennaiyin FC B team is all set to compete in the 129th edition of the coveted Durand Cup to be held in West Bengal. CFC B are in Group D alongside I-League side Gokulam Kerala FC, 2018-19 I-League 2nd Division winners Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC and the Indian Air Force team. CFC’s opening game is against fellow southerners Gokulam Kerala on Thursday 8th August at the Howrah Stadium in a 3 PM kick off.
Following that, CFC B take on TRAU on Friday 16th August before concluding their group stage campaign against the Indian Air Force team at the Mohun Bagan Ground on Sunday 18th August. The team leaves for Kolkata on Tuesday 6th August.
During the summer, Chennaiyin conducted extensive trials around the country for its B team. It is an exciting mix of old and new in a B team that is raring to challenge for top honours in Asia’s oldest football tournament.
“It is an absolute privilege for us to be competing in the Durand Cup. We have an exciting B team that will give its best against some quality opposition. These are young and highly talented footballers who must make the most of this opportunity and aim to go far in the competition. The new boys will be looking to make the best first impression while those who have been with us will be aiming to hit the ground running,” said an excited Syed Sabir Pasha, Chennaiyin FC Technical Director for Youth Development and First Team Assistant Coach.
Ten members of the 22-man CFC B team squad for the Durand Cup have been retained at the club from last season. This includes goalkeeper Samik Mitra, versatile defenders Hendry Antonay and Reamsochung Aimol, along with Mizo forward Bawlte Rohmingthanga – all of whom have been part of the CFC first team squad in either the 2018-19 Indian Super League campaign or 2019 AFC Cup.
The new recruits in the B team come from all over the country, owing to trials and selections conducted in the summer, including in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka. Aspiring young footballers came from districts and towns far and wide. The entire selection process was headed by Syed Sabir Pasha himself, with assistance from youth team coaches.
“A platform like the Durand Cup is unmatched. It is obviously historic in nature, which will make it that much more competitive. And with clubs from around India vying for the coveted trophy, there can be no better exposure for the team we have put together,” concluded Pasha.
The Durand Cup makes a return after three years for its 129th edition, with 16 teams divided across four groups. CFC are one of five ISL teams participating. It will be the first time the tournament will be held in West Bengal, and as is tradition, will involve teams representing the Indian Armed Forces. Army Green are the defending champions, having beaten Manipur’s NEROCA FC on penalties in the 2016 final.
Chennaiyin FC B Team 2019 Durand Cup Squad:
Goalkeepers: Samik Mitra (Siliguri), Joel Aju (Kollam)
Defenders: Sahil Kumar (Delhi), Ajith K. (Bengaluru), Boobalan S. (Tiruppur), Kannan M. (Chennai), Ahino Justin Paul (Kanyakumari), Reamsochung Aimol (Imphal), Mohammed Sarif Khan (Imphal), Hendry Antonay (Bengaluru), Charles Britto (Trichy)
Midfielders: Vignesh V. (Bengaluru), Aman Murti Singh (Lucknow), Melroy Assisi (Mumbai), Shubham Mane (Mumbai), Bibin Boban (Kerala), Ajin Tom (Wayanad), Harsh Bartwal (Dehradun)
Forwards: Bawlte Rohmingthanga (Mizoram), Balkarsingh (Punjab), Joysana Singh (Imphal), Aman Chetri (Guwahati)
Chennaiyin FC B Team 2019 Durand Cup Group D Fixtures:
Gokulam Kerala FC vs Chennaiyin FC B – 8th August 2019 – Howrah Stadium
Chennaiyin FC vs TRAU – 16th August 2019 – Howrah Stadium
Chennaiyin FC vs Indian Air Force – 18th August 2019 – Mohun Bagan Ground