Indian international striker Jeje Lalpekhlua has left two-time Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC after six years, the player and club confirmed on Tuesday.
“This is the club that gave me my first steps into the Indian Super League and it is because of this club that I am who I am today,” Jeje said in a statement.
“I will never forget the support Vita Dani and Abhishek Bachchan (co-owners) have given us through all the ups and downs during our six seasons. It was a great feeling to win the trophy twice with the team.
“A big thank you to every manager I played under and each and every player I played alongside. I did wish I could play another match for CFC as I missed the last season but it is not to be.”
The 29-year-old striker underwent surgery in May 2019 after aggravating a knee injury and did not feature in the sixth edition of the tournament.
Jeje, called ‘Mizo Sniper’ by the club’s fans for his lethal instinct in front of goal, leaves the club as its leading goal-scorer in all competitions with 25 strikes to his name. He was pivotal to the club’s Indian Super League title triumphs in 2015 and 2017-’18.
The forward made 76 appearances in all competitions, also the record for a CFC player till date.
In his first season with the club, he scored four goals, finishing the inaugural ISL campaign as the tournament’s leading Indian goal-scorer. In 2015, he received the ISL Emerging Player award. His best season in front of goal came in the 2017-’18 ISL campaign (nine goals and a assist) as Chennaiyin FC clinched the title for the second time.
“Jeje will always be synonymous with Chennaiyin FC, having served the club and our ardent supporters in impeccable fashion over the years. He has been a faultless professional, a true role model and a beacon of inspiration in Indian football. And we are immensely grateful for his rich contribution to our club’s many successes on and off the field in the past six years. We wish him the very best for the future,” said the Chennaiyin FC co-owners in a joint statement.