Two-time Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC on Saturday announced that head coach John Gregory has signed a new deal that keeps him at the club till the end of the 2019-20 season.
In his first season in India, Gregory led CFC to a second ISL title in the 2017-18 campaign, helping them become the first side from the competition to qualify for the prestigious Asian Football Confederation Cup.
And despite a disappointing 2018-19 ISL campaign, Chennaiyin went on to finish as 2019 Super Cup runners-up last month and currently occupy top spot midway through the 2019 AFC Cup group stage.
“It truly is a great feeling extending my stay with the Chennaiyin family. My journey so far in India has really given me the whole range of emotions and experience, after the ISL title triumph in the first season followed by the disappointment in the same competition last season. And I feel I have some unfinished business here,” said the Englishman as he celebrates his 65th birthday with the contract renewal.
Gregory was presented with the esteemed League Managers’ Association Special Achievement Award in May last year for becoming the first Englishman to win the ISL title. Then in July 2018 he was also awarded the ISL Coach of the Year trophy by the Association of Indian Football Coaches (AIFC) for winning the ISL in his first-ever coaching stint in India.
Gregory and Chennaiyin went on to endure a disappointing 2018-19 ISL campaign, finishing in the bottom spot. But the troops also bounced back under Gregory’s watch and put together a memorable cup run, progressing to the 2019 Super Cup final where they lost by a narrow 2-1 margin to FC Goa.
At the same time, Chennaiyin made their continental bow under Gregory’s guidance in the 2019 AFC Cup. It has been a steady show so far with Chennaiyin currently in top spot midway through the group stage, with two wins and a draw. Chennaiyin have kept eight clean sheets in their last eleven games in all competitions and are yet to concede a goal in five AFC Cup matches, including the qualifying play-off round against Colombo FC earlier in March.
Fernandes to remain at Goa
FC Goa on Saturday announced that Brandon Fernandes has signed a three-year extension with the Indian Super League club. The deal will keep the No 10 in Goa until the end of the 2021/22 season.
He was selected by FC Goa in the 2017 ISL Draft with their pick in the 6th Round. In his first season as a Gaur the forward-cum-winger accounted for 2 goals and 4 assists over 17 games in all competitions as the club reached the semis in both the Indian Super League and the Super Cup.
Brandon had his best season in 2018/19 when he featured in the 22 games in the orange of FC Goa. His 6 goals and 6 assists across all competitions helped the Gaurs reach the final of the Indian Super League before lifting the Super Cup in April with Brandon scoring the eventual winner in the final.
Brandon Fernandes said, Frankly, I just love playing for this club, playing for Goa. I feel proud to represent my people. The fans have always been amazing and from the day I joined this club, I have felt at home.
“I would like to thank Sergio Lobera and the management at the club for believing in me and helping me take my game to the next level. We were able to win the Super Cup, but we as a team, remain hungry. I am sure more success is around the corner.”
FC Goa president Akshay Tandon said, “I am going to reveal a secret. Brandon has been a key part of our plans even before he knew it. It was always our intention to keep him. His performance last season only validated our assumptions. We are proud to have him play for us for many seasons to come.