Indian Super League (ISL) side Chennaiyin FC’s new defensive signing Ajith Kumar is ready to shoulder the responsibility and get the Marina Machans back to winning ways after a disappointing 2021-22 season where the team finished eighth and failed to make the ISL playoffs.
“We have had a complete overhaul, starting from formation, playing style and so on. We have almost settled down and are just going with the coach’s flow. According to me, playing simple football efficiently is the toughest and we are learning to do just that under (new coach Thomas) Brdaric,” said Ajith.
Brdaric’s side has welcomed 14 new players, but Ajith feels the dressing room has adapted to the changes fairly quickly. “It’s not like we are strangers, we’ve known each other before coming here, it’s just that we have played with different teams. We have a good rapport with our coach and that is helping a lot,” he added.
Earlier this year, Chennaiyin FC signed defender Fallou Diagne and Ajith says the Senegalese brings in a lot of experience and he is excited to learn the nuances of defensive play from the player with Bundesliga experience.
Talking about Chennaiyin’s approach towards the game under Brdaric Ajith said: “I don’t think we can compare last season’s performance with this one as we have been playing a different kind of football. I was brought into the team this transfer window, so I can’t comment about the transition, but the change is there for everyone to see. Brdaric has induced fighting spirit within the squad and our motto is to give everything till the final whistle,” he said.
Mambas’ goalkeeper Anto credited the win to his pet Iguana ‘Spikey’. “I got my Iguana four years ago and he has travelled with us ever since and we have won 40 competitions. He’s our lucky charm. So happy that we managed to win a tournament that had 32 quality teams and I’m looking forward to winning more,” he said.
Ajith was present alongside defensive colleague Narayan Das for the final of the third edition of Madras Mundial, a six-a-side tournament organised by the club.
Black Mambas FC – richer by Rs. 25,000 – was crowned champion after it beat Dynamos FC 2-1 in extra-time.