Indian Football Season 2017-18 Review: Chennai City
Written by: Guna Sheelan
The southerners had a difficult season in the I-League where they saved relegation at the last moment.
It was a season to forget as the southerners managed to avoid relegation at the end moment. After a disappointing campaign last time around, the team from Chennai were expected to improve their standards. However, they finished eighth, just two points above relegated Churchill Brothers. Having lost their previous season's stars such as Dhanpal Ganesh and Nandhakumar to the Indian Super League, the team was out of shape even before the start of the term. A lack of experience and depth in the squad didn't do any favours as the team failed to make a point during any part of the season. Similarly, the misery continued in the Super Cup as they lost 4-1 to East Bengal in the Qualifiers.
Fact Sheet for Season 2017-18
Season Finished: 8th
Games Played: 19
Win %: 15.78%
Chennai City, who lacked the charm of the fans last season, decided to shift their base to Coimbatore for various reasons. Their pre-season training was held at Yuba Bharathi Public School in Coimbatore. In the pre-season, the side played three matches, which included a stalemate against ISL giants Bengaluru FC. Although, there were some impressive performances, had the team played more matches in the preparation, the outcome of the season could have been different.
Khel Now's three top performers of Chennai City FC for season 2017-18
Underperformer of the Season
The Mizoram defender joined the Southerners on loan from FC Pune City. While he made as many as nine appearances for the side, his failure to adapt to the top division was evident. The 19-year-old full back's crosses and passes were mostly clueless and far from anything decent.
Top 3 Performances
- Mohun Bagan 1-2 Chennai City FC (Match Report and Highlights)
- Chennai City FC 2-1 Minerva Punjab FC (Match Report and Highlights)
Chennai City FC 3-1 Churchill brothers FC ( Match Report and Highlights)
Coach's Report Card
Soundararajan gave opportunities to many youngsters and especially to the local players. However, his tactics came back to haunt Chennai several times this season and the head coach should be the only person to be held accountable for the side's poor run in their recently concluded campaign.
A former player himself, his team management was questioned resulting in him losing the dressing room as the players were also unhappy with his work ethic. Soundarajan's team failed to adapt to any sort of style throughout the season as long balls were the only visible tactic.
Lessons to be Learned
Any team should have a good mix of experienced and young players. Increasing the depth of the squad would reap rewards as the lack of bench strength in various positions was visible.
Throughout the season, the defensive line of the team was tampered and experimented with continuously. Whereas their counterparts Chennaiyin FC achieved success by sticking to their proven lineup which helped them gain solidity both upfront and in the rearguard.
For a football side, the coach should be flexible. In spite of the lack of goals and the need for wins, Soundarajan continued to stick to the one striker strategy, which hurt Chennai's I-League and Super Cup campaigns terribly.
Chennai City must try to become a top team. The pre-season, signings and the coach has to be better. Soundararajan was poor this season. The management has roped in Mohamad Akbar Bin Abdul Nawas as the coach for next season. We are excited. From what we heard, he's an excellent coach and a tactical genius. This season was disappointing but we hope for a turn around next season.
Published: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:08 AM IST