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Anirudh Thapa's goal is to assist more

Chennaiyin midfielder says club will use Durand Cup for game time, but will take tourney seriously

Anirudh Thapas goal is to assist more
(From left) Anirudh Thapa, Debjit Majumder, Abhishek Bachchan, Vita Dani, Thomas Brdaric, Fallou Diagne, Rafael Crivellaro and Alexander Romario Jesuraj

CHENNAI: Chennaiyin FC midfield orchestrator Anirudh Thapa, nicknamed the ‘Boy Wonder’, is determined to become a man in the upcoming 2022-23 domestic season.

The 24-year-old Thapa is technically a ‘youngster’ in football parlance. But, he is qualified to be referred as a ‘senior player’, having already featured in six Indian Super League seasons for Chennaiyin.

Six goals and 10 assists in 87 appearances do not reflect the bundle of talent he is. Hence, the India international is on a mission to set ISL 9 alight.

“This season, I have to work even harder to achieve the objectives, especially when it comes to goals and assists. Individually, I look forward to the upcoming season,” Thapa said on the sidelines of CFC’s official jersey launch here on Saturday, adding that the participation in the Durand Cup would do the players a world of good.

“For us, it is important. We have a new team. The foreigners [barring Rafael Crivellaro] are new. We need game time to get used to the style which the [head] coach (Thomas Brdaric) wants us to play. The matches will be important to get together and get along well with the other players [on the field],” Thapa said of the Durand Cup that will be hosted in three cities – Kolkata, Guwahati and Imphal – between August 16 and September 18.

“Durand Cup is different and the ISL is different. We know the value of the ISL.

Durand Cup is important as well. We will not play for fun. We will see what we need to do in the ISL via the Durand Cup,” added Thapa, who was accompanied by his teammates Crivellaro, Fallou Diagne, Debjit Majumder and Alexander Romario Jesuraj, and manager Brdaric.

Going by Thapa’s words, Chennaiyin, a two-time ISL victor, is aiming big again. “Hopefully, this season, we bring the [ISL] trophy back to Chennai and qualify for AFC (referring to continental club competitions). The coach is pushing us to achieve the objectives.”

Have full faith in Brdaric: Co-owner Vita

CFC co-owners Vita Dani and Abhishek Bachchan threw their weight behind Brdaric, who they believe will help the club climb up the ladder. “You know what sport teaches us the most? [It teaches us] how to deal with and learn from defeat (referring to the team’s back-to-back eighth-place finishes in ISL 2020-21 and 2021-22). I think that there is no better time to come back to our home town and prove ourselves under Thomas’s leadership. We have full faith in Thomas’s abilities,” Vita told reporters.

“I think that we will do much better. The last two-and-a-half years have been difficult for all of us, including the players who had to stay in a bio-bubble [for two seasons]. I am sure that they will only excel in the upcoming season,” added Vita.

While addressing the fans, Abhishek said: “We hope to come back with the Durand Cup and add to the silverware which we have won.”

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Shrivathsan S
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