An unsettled look about it

CHENNAIYIN FC PLAYERS during a media introduction.-K. PICHUMANI

It took a last minute pull out by the Bangalore franchise for Chennaiyin FC to come into existence. It then had to sort out ownership issues, problems related to the team name, identify a practise facility et al. All this, coupled with a lesser sprinkling of stardust, has ensured that the side has an unsettled look about it.

But this could well be a blessing in disguise. For, no one knows what the team is really about. By lowering expectations, it gives player-manager Marco Materazzi some freedom to experiment.

Like any other side the team will be identified by its foreign recruits. For this the side has Bernard Mendy, Cristian Hidalgo Gonzalez, Bojan Djordjic, Mikael Silvestre and marquee signing Elano Blumer to show. Elano, the 33-year-old, might well go on to become the pick among the marquee signings as he is the only one still playing active football while the others are all retired professionals.

Notable Indian names include East Bengal skipper Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Mohun Bagan captain and goalkeeper Shilton Paul and former Churchill Brothers forward Balwant Singh, the 2014 FPAI ‘Indian Player of the Year’.

Formation-wise, it is still fluid. At the start, a classic 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 with one striker in a withdrawn role looked possible. But in the last of the three practise games, a 7-1 thrashing of Army Green in Bangalore, which was also the side’s best performance, it lined up as a 3-5-2. But in any formation the all Swedish central midfield pair of Djordjic and Pierre Tillman will play a crucial role.

N. Sudarshan