In response, the co-owner of the two-time Indian Super League (ISL) title-winner came out with a statement, saying that announcements would be made soon.
And, the CFC management kept the promise by extending Eli Sabia’s contract for another year on Wednesday. Following the successful deal, the Brazilian centre-back occupies Chennaiyin’s first foreigner slot for ISL 2020-21. “I am very happy to come back to a club that I call my home,” Sabia told DT Next from Santa Catarina.
“The club and the fans are my family and it will be an honour to represent them once again. I can’t wait for the new season to begin,” he said. The 31-year-old has appeared 59 times for Chennaiyin across all competitions under three different managers, making him one of the club’s longest-serving members.
Sabia, gearing up for a fourth season with CFC, remarked that his journey so far on Indian shores has been nothing short of incredible. “It has been a rollercoaster ride on and off the pitch. Personally, Chennai will have a special place in my heart as my daughter Valentina has grown up there,” added Sabia, who made his ISL debut in 2016.
Sabia forged a lethal partnership with Lucian Goian in the backline during ISL Season 6, but couldn’t take Chennaiyin past the finish line. Having failed to overcome the final hurdle last time around, the central defender is confident that the side would go one step further in the upcoming season.
“CFC is a club that strives to achieve the best. We had an incredible experience (in ISL 2019-20). Our Indian players, especially the youngsters, have great potential. I am positive that we will have another memorable campaign.”
With the seventh edition of the league just a couple of months away, Sabia has been hitting the gym on a regular basis in a bid to stay in good shape. “I have been exercising and avoiding much contact with people. Brazil has many coronavirus cases, but our region hasn’t been affected much. I am safe and I hope that the health crisis will end soon,” he stated.
Addressing the Chennaiyin fans – who won’t be able to pack the Marina Arena to its rafters this season because of the COVID19 pandemic – Sabia said: “I love you so much. I can’t thank you enough for the support you have given me and CFC all these years. We will continue to put a smile on your faces.”