Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champion Chennaiyin FC has had a complete overhaul this time. It has recruited a new coach in Bozidar Bandovic and acquired many Indian players and a fresh set of five foreigners.
On the other hand, Hyderabad FC has a relatively settled team, having retained the core of Indian players, and acquiring two of the best foreigners in ISL — midfielder Edu Garcia (Spain) and top striker Bartholomew Ogbeche (Nigeria).
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Bandovic said he was aware of the challenges when Chennaiyin takes on Hyderabad in its first match of the new 2021-22 season at the Bambolim Stadium, Goa.
“To bring the players together in a very short time has been a challenge. There are many new [Indian] players and many foreigners. In football, nobody waits. They want immediate results. We will handle this for sure,” said the 52-year-old Montenegrin at a virtual media interaction on Monday.
According to Bandovic, the most important thing is to win. “There are different solutions we can use and I am trying to choose the best one to win the games,” he said.
Chennaiyin’s Rafael Crivellaro is still nursing an injury (gluteal), while Germanpreet Singh will not play on Tuesday, also due to an (undisclosed) injury.
Hyderabad’s coach Manolo Marquez, in a release, said: “We can no longer compare ourselves to the previous season [it narrowly missed out a spot in the semifinals and finished fifth). We want to continue the development of our youngsters and we want to show our fans that we can improve on last season.”