Chennaiyin FC assistant coach Sabir Pasha feels Rafael Crivellaro, one of the most important players in the club has recovered well after his muscle injury and trying to get his fitness back. He is still not a certainty for Chennai’s opener against Hyderabad FC.
Pasha and striker Rahim Ali sat down for a chat with the media, 6 days before they kick off their Indian Super League campaign at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim. They speak about Rafa’s injury, Rahim Ali’s role in the team, and how Bozidar Bandovic has reinvigorated the side ahead of the upcoming season.
Rafael Crivellaro led the Marina Machans last year after being a vital figure at the club in 2019-20, taking them to the final before losing to ATK. The 32-year-old was not seen in any of the preseason friendlies that Chennaiyin played, with speculations of a new injury. “He has picked up a muscle injury. We do not want to risk him, he has shown great improvement as we keep monitoring him. He is back in training and will start doing more intense workouts in the upcoming days.”
Rahim Ali is training with the squad on the back of a fantastic set of performances for the Indian U23 side in the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers. Speaking with us about his role for CFC, the Barrackpore-born man said, “I played as a no.9 for India (U23 side) and it will be a similar role here as well. I always try to keep things simple wherever I play and hopefully give my best for whatever duration I am on the pitch.”
This season of the ISL promises to be one where close margins can decide the fate of many teams. “It’s not going to be easy for us or anyone for that matter. In ISL, it’s all about how you perform on that particular day. Our immediate target is to win matches. We just have to put the ball in the net. That’s our main target,” opined Pasha.
Chennaiyin FC is a club, and many people will agree, that is in its ‘transitional period’. However, in the Indian Super League, a good transfer window can change everything. Chennaiyin have done just that strengthening every single department and adding depth to the side. Exciting times are ahead for the Marina Machans if they improve their play in the attacking third with Rahim Ali shouldering a lot of the responsibility there.
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