Fikru Teferra was one of the best strikers in the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), last year. The six-foot tall Ethiopian tormented the defenders with his incredible pace and imposing physical prowess. Despite missing the final game with a hamstring injury, he was the second highest goal scorer in the tournament, netting five goals for Atletico de Kolkata. After winning the title with them, the Ethiopian striker has joined Chennaiyin FC. He talks about his new club; working with Chennayin FC coach Marco Materazzi; and his expectations from ISL-2.
Why did you quit Atletico de Kolkata, the inaugural champions, and join Chennaiyin FC?
After the end of my contract with Kolkata, I joined South African top division club Bidvest Wits. While playing there, I knew about interest from some ISL franchises but the phone call from Marco Materazzi convinced me to join Chennaiyin FC. It was a very positive conversation. I felt wanted there more than anywhere else.
Apoula Edel Bete has also joined you from Atletico. What qualities do you both bring to Chennaiyin?
Chennaiyin had a great season last year and already had a good team. Me, Edel and all the new players would try to play our part and hopefully help the team go all the way.
How has it been working with Materazzi in the pre-season? What have been the differences in coaching compared with Habas at Atletico?
It has been a wonderful experience working with Marco. Every coach has their own style but the best thing about Marco is that he understands the players and that makes it easier for us to perform.
What were your impressions of the first year in ISL and what do you expect from the second?
The first year of the ISL showed that there is great passion for football in India. I still can’t forget the moment when I scored the first-ever goal. I believe the second season will be even better because the quality of the teams have also improved compared to last year.
You missed the final last year with a hamstring injury. What do you hope to achieve in the coming season?
I just hope to score as many goals as possible but most importantly help Chennaiyin win the ISL.