Raman Vijayan: You can see a different Chennaiyin FC in Super Cup
The newly appointed Marina Machans’ assistant coach also shed light on how ISL has helped Indian football.
Raman Vijayan was recently appointed as the assistant coach of Chennaiyin FC replacing long-serving Syed Sabir Pasha. Vijayan had previously worked as the assistant coach for Delhi Dynamos during the ISL 2015 season but did not continue the role further. After six seasons, he is back with his coaching duties and shall help head coach Thomas Brdaric with Chennaiyin FC’s development. Before jumping into the interview, we would like to provide a fact about Raman Vijayan – Sivasakthi Narayanan was trained by Vijayan at his private academy and the youngster has shown tremendous form in his debut ISL season for Bengaluru FC.
Khel Now got an opportunity to chat with Raman Vijayan. Excerpts from the conversation are as follows.
Reason for choosing Chennaiyin FC
Raman Vijayan has been an integral part of Tamil Nadu football and has good knowledge of the talents present there. The former Indian international has groomed several players and his major role would be to strengthen the grassroots and the developmental team.
Vijayan said, “I got a call from Chennaiyin FC and then prepared to join the team. I was doing commentary in Mumbai that is when I got a call. Also, I was preparing myself to do the role after so many years. I was out of coaching for the past six years and when I got the offer I couldn’t resist because this is my hometown and I can help the boys prepare well going forward.”
“The vision will be to help the first team. Super Cup is coming up in a few days’ time and I shall help the team to perform better. I will be helping Thomas Brdaric in whatever way possible. We need to build strong grassroots and youth development squads and make a good structure. Five to six players need to progress from youth development to the main squad every year,” he said on about his aspirations with the club.
The assistant coach added, “Thomas Brdaric wants improvement in the developmental squad and to promote them to the main squad for long-term development. There are several players whom we are encouraging. Rather than going in search of quality, we ourselves can groom players which is our main goal. From next season there will be good quality in the main team.”
Previously part of Delhi Dynamos. How has ISL changed since then?
Raman Vijayan was the assistant coach of the defunct Delhi Dynamos side as mentioned earlier. After a gap of six years, he will be taking up the role once again. During the initial seasons, six foreigners were allowed to feature in the matchday squad which has now been reduced to four. The quality of Indian players has risen up and many are getting good game-time to showcase their talent.
The former India international iterated, “There were many star players who played in the ISL at the start. On the other hand, we have seen many Indian players emerge every season. Monetary and the players’ standard has definitely improved. I believe ISL has made a massive change in Indian football.”
Raman Vijayan assesses Chennaiyin FC’s ISL 2022-23 season
The Marina Machans finished in the eighth spot with 27 points. The southern franchise ended the campaign on a positive note winning the last three games. Thomas Brdaric showed good potential but unfortunately, the results didn’t gone in his side’s favour.
The 49-year-old quipped, “According to me, we could have finished in a better position this season. There were many matches which we should have won but couldn’t. You can see a different team playing in the Super Cup for which the preparations are going on in full stretch. The players want to give their best in the season’s last tournament and you might see good performances from us.”
Thoughts on Indian players at Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin FC have a good mix of youngsters and experienced players (Indian contingent). Out of them, Vincy Barretto, Jiteshwor Singh, and Akash Sangwan were the standout performers this season.
Raman Vijayan expected better performance from the Indian players as he informed Khel Now, “The Indian players should have performed well. Compared to other franchises we have performed well (Indian ecosystem). Overall they have put in average performance. Vincy Barretto, Jiteshwor Singh, and Aaksah Sangwan stood out this season and have played well. Edwin Vanspaul, Anirudh Thapa, and Samik Mitra have performed but haven’t performed extraordinarily like Bipin Singh or Lallianzuala Chhangte, which was a big concern. You will see good changes in the Super Cup.”
Super Cup goals
“There are several players who would want to perform well in the Super Cup if they haven’t shown their full potential in the ISL season. It will be helpful for their growth ahead of the next season. All the players are putting in a good effort but we cannot bring massive changes in Super Cup but can certainly bring out the best in the players,” he said about the goals regarding the Super Cup.
Anirudh Thapa’s overall performance
Captain Anirudh Thapa has scored two goals in the 16 games he played this season. The 25-year-old hasn’t played to his potential in the past few seasons due to injuries. The midfielder has played out of position many a times to accommodate the teams’ balance.
Vijayan quipped, “Thapa has performed well with the midfielders he has had. He is a treat to watch if he plays with good midfield players which we have seen in the previous seasons. His performance has been on and off currently. There are a lot of expectations from Anirudh Thapa and even I want him to deliver his best.”
Raman Vijayan’s relationship with Syed Sabir Pasha
Raman Vijayan and Sabir Pasha had been an integral part of the Indian Bank, Tamil Nadu state team, and the Indian National team in the late 2000s. Both had combined together and scored many goals.
The assistant coach explained his relationship with the former assistant coach Sabir Pasha, “I and Sabir have played together for Indian Bank, Tamil Nadu, and the Indian National team. We have scored several goals through our combination. Sabir has developed well as a coach and I went out professionally to coach as well. We have always maintained a good friendship and relationship throughout. Recently, we had a chat regarding the performances of each player in Chennaiyin FC. I wish him success in whichever job he takes up going forward.”
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