Chennaiyin FC

Chennaiyin Football Club is an Indian professional football club based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The club competes in the Indian Super League, the top flight of Indian football. The club was founded in August 2014 during the inaugural season of the Indian Super League.One of the successful club in the history of the league. The club has won the Indian Super League title on two occasions, in the 2015 and 2017–18 seasons respectively.

Chennaiyin F.C.
Chennaiyin FC logo.svg
Full nameChennaiyin Football Club
Nickname(s)Marina Machans[1]
Short namecfc
FoundedAugust 28, 2014; 7 years ago (2014-08-28)
GroundMarina Arena (Chennai)
Capacity40,000 (ISL)[2]
OwnerAbhishek Bachchan
MS Dhoni
Vita Dani
Head coachvacant
LeagueIndian Super League
2021–22Indian Super League, 8th of 11
Playoffs: DNQ
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Departments of Chennayin FC
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg Simple Game.svg
(Reserves & youth)

The club is owned by Vita Dani, Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and Indian cricketer MS Dhoni.[4] The team's name Chennaiyin FC means Chennai's football club in Tamil where the 'yin' suffix is similar to a possessive 's' in English.[5] The club's primary colour is blue ever since its inception and its logo is the Dhrishti Bommai, a representation of chasing away negativity and preserving positivity in the Tamil culture.[6]



When the Indian Super League was founded in 2014, the city of Chennai was one of the nine proposed cities up for franchise bidding.[7] However, on 11 April 2014 it was reported that Chennai's main bidder, a consortium led by Sunil Gavaskar would drop out due to commitments with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.[8] In August 2014, with two months before the 2014 ISL season, the Bangalore owners Sun Group dropped out due to disputes with the organizers.[9] Initially reports came out that the ISL organizers were looking for bidders for new owners for the Bangalore franchise before it was revealed that Ronnie Screwvala and actor Abhishek Bachchan would together bid for a Chennai team instead of a Bangalore franchise.[10]


On 14 August 2014, it was reported that ISL officials were inspecting the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai for the proposed team.[11] Finally, the team was bid for by actor Abhishek Bachchan and Vita Dani. On 12 September 2014, Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi was hired as player-manager.[12] On 6 October 2014, former Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the joint co-owner of the club. The club officially launched their jersey on 9 October 2014 but had changed their home jersey's pattern in the 2018–19 Indian Super League season.

Marco Materazzi era (2014–2016)Edit

Marco Materazzi was the head coach of Chennaiyin FC from 2014 to 2016.

On 15 October 2014, Chennaiyin won their first Indian Super League fixture with a 2–1 victory over FC Goa. The goals were scored by Balwant Singh, who became the first Indian player to score in the competition, and the former Brazil international Elano.[13] On 28 November 2014, the club brought Alessandro Nesta, who won the World Cup for Italy out of retirement.[14] The team finished its 14-game regular season in first place in the league. In the semi finals, the team lost the first leg 3–0 to Kerala Blasters FC. In the second leg, they overturned the deficit by leading 3–0 in regular time. However, a 117th-minute goal by Stephen Pearson sent Kerala through to the finals.

For the second season of Indian Super League, they retained six players: Balwant Singh, Jayesh Rane, Dhanachandra Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra and Abhishek Das.[15] They also signed Godwin Franco and Mehrajuddin Wadoo. On the last day of the transfer window, Chennaiyin FC announced that they had signed back Stiven Mendoza. The season started with the team losing the first two games. Though the team managed to score points by winning at Goa and Mumbai, they lost another three games on the trot. By the third week of November, Chennaiyin were placed last in the league table. However, the team won four consecutive games to qualify for the playoffs, finishing at 3rd place in the regular season. They won the second season of the ISL by beating FC Goa 3–2 in the finals.

For the third season, of Indian Super League, they retained six players: Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Jayesh Rane, Dhanachandra Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra, Thoi Singh and Abhishek Das.[16] Chennai signed John Arne Riise as the marquee player for the season. The season kicked off with a draw against Kolkata. Winning only three games through the season, the team finished in seventh place, just one point more than the last placed FC Goa. After a dismal season, it was announced on 6 March that Marco Materazzi and Chennaiyin parted ways on mutual consent.[17][18]

John Gregory era (2017–2019)Edit

John Gregory led the team to ISL title in his first season

On 3 July 2017, the club announced the appointment of former Aston Villa Manager John Gregory as the head coach for the 2017–18 season.[19] He took charge in September and the club traveled to Thailand for pre-season. Chennaiyin lost Gregory's first league game as head coach on 19 November against FC Goa. The team won its next three matches against Northeast United FC, FC Pune City and ATK. Mumbai City FC brought Chennaiyin FC's winning run to an end with a battling 1–0 win at home inside the Mumbai Football Arena.[20] The blues then travelled to Sree Kanteerava Stadium, where they beat Bengaluru FC 2–1 in a tightly contested match.[21] Chennaiyin FC were held to a 1–1 draw when they faced Kerala Blasters at home in their next game. In spite of the draw, The Blues went top of the table with 13 points after seven games.[22] The team went on to win the finals against Bangalore on their home ground and became the champions for the second time.[23] Chennaiyin FC finished as runner-ups in AIFF Super Cup 2019 where they lost to FC Goa 2–1. Following Indian Super League glory in 2017–18, Chennaiyin became the first Indian club, representing the ISL, to play in the AFC Cup, as they drew 0–0 with Colombo FC in Sri Lanka on 6 March 2019. A week later, they won the second leg 1–0 in Chennai to progress to the 2019 AFC Cup group stage. Chennayin FC is the first ISL club to reach in Group stage of AFC Cup 2019 i.e. in Group E.[24] They played a tie of 0–0 to Minerva Punjab FC on 3 April 2019 and won 2–0 to Nepalese club Manang Marshyangdi Club on 17 April 2019 whereby Maílson Alves and Chris Herd were also accompanied by win against Abahani Limited Dhaka by 1–0 and goal scorer was Anirudh Thapa on 30 April 2019. On 19 June 2019 Chennaiyin FC faced a draw of 1–1 against Minerva Punjab F.C. where Mohammed Rafi secured a goal in the last minute of game. On John Gregory's 65th birthday the club announced that the coach's contract was renewed which will expire soon after the 2019–20 Indian Super League season. After losing the AFC Cup the club then made some shocking decisions by releasing their captain, Mailson Alves and Raphael Augusto as a preparation for the 2019–20 Indian Super League season. They also released some of the Indian players in their team which includes C.K. Vineeth, Mohammed Rafi, Halicharan Narzary, Isaac Vanmalsawma. They then signed Nerijus Valskis, Lucian Goian, Dragoș Firțulescu, André Schembri, Masih Saighani and Rafael Crivellaro to strengthen their squad. On 30 November 2019 John Gregory resigned from his post as head coach even though owner Mrs. Vita Dani tried in vain to get him to stay. Under his guidance Chennai won their second Indian Super League trophy.

Owen Coyle (2019–2020)Edit

Owen took the charge of the club on 4 December 2019.[25] Under his guidance Chennaiyin faced 1–1 draw against Jamshedpur, won 3–1 against Kerala Blasters and lost a dramatic game 4–3 to Goa in the initial days of Coyle.[26][27][28] They lost to Odisha on 6 January 2020 and won a game against Hyderabad by 3–1.[29][30]

The Coyle era catapulted Chennaiyin FC to 4th from Bottom of the table (9th), thus earning them qualification for the playoffs.[31] He went on to guide Chennaiyin FC to the 2020 ISL final after beating FC Goa 6–5 on aggregate over the two legs of the semifinals.[32][33]

Chennaiyin were beaten 3–1 by ATK with the game played behind closed doors, due to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.[34] Nerijus Valskis, who scored in the final for Chennaiyin, topped golden boot tally consequently, he was awarded ISL golden boot.[35]

Csaba László (2020–2021)Edit

Csaba László took the charge of the club on 30 August 2020. He had an average season with three wins and 11 draws. On April 10, 2021, he parted ways with the club.[36]

Božidar Bandović (2021–present)Edit

Chennaiyin FC appointed Bozidar Bandovic as their manager for the 2021–22 season on a two-year contract.[37]


Chennaiyin FC play their home matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai nicknamed the Marina Arena. The stadium is located at Sydenhams Road, Park Town behind the Chennai Central suburban Railway station and Ripon Building. The stadium is named after Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister and earlier hosted cricket Test Matches between 1956 and 1965.[38]


Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the club's home ground.

Chennaiyin has a considerable fan base with an average attendance of over 20,000 over the first three seasons.[39][40]

Chennaiyin FC is one of the very few clubs in India to have multiple active fan groups. The B Stand Blues (BSB) and the Supermachans are the two fan groups of Chennaiyin FC. Both the fan groups are very famous among the Indian football scenario and they are constantly active on and off the season. Their support to the team is so dedicated and they also carry out CSR activities.

BSB cheering for Chennaiyin in 2017

The BSB are known for their witty, banter filled banners. The Simpsons Vadai banner, the crying child AFC banner, the Trophy Virgins banner are some prime examples. Their snake banner caused quite a few rattles.

Supermachans are known for their brilliant work with their tifos. The Dali mask tifo, Jallikattu tifo and I'm Chennaiyin tifo are some very notable ones. Their hand painted tifos are among the best in the country.

Both these fan groups have worked so hard to spread the football fan culture in the state. They even travel to some away games to extend their support to the club. The most famous away trip is the 2017-18 ISL finals against Bengaluru FC, where there were hundreds of fans from both fan clubs despite the game happening in a different state. Both fan clubs ended up conquering the stands of Kanteerava when their club had conquered it on the field.

Opponents generally find the Chennaiyin crowd intimidating. Indian captain Sunil Chhetri himself has acknowledged this fact, as he's usually been on the receiving end when he travels to the Marina Arena in BFC colours. In addition to this, Chennaiyin also has a huge fan following all over the state of Tamil Nadu. Their social media following is among the top in Indian clubs.


Since both Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters are two dominant clubs from South India, the rivalry between these two clubs' fans is visible both on ground and on various social platforms. The matches between both the clubs create sparks among both the clubs and especially the fans. The meetings between the two teams are known as the Southern Derby.[41]

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsorsEdit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Back sponsor Chest sponsor Sleeve sponsor
2014–15 TYKA[42] Ozone Group[43] Reliance Digital -
2015–16 Haier[44] Volvo
2016–17 Puma[45] TVS Tyres Himalaya Men Lloyd
2017–18 Performax Apollo Tyres[46] Jio Nippon Paint[47]
2018–19 Gyproc
2019–20 DafaNews[48] SSVM
2020–21 Acko[49]
2021–Present Nivia[50] BatBall11

Technical staffEdit

As of 11 February 2022[51]

Coaching staff

Position Name
Interim Head coach   Syed Sabir Pasha
Assistant coach   Bojan Ofenbeher
Goalkeeping coach   Milorad Nikolić
Assistant sports scientist   Atharva Tere

Medical staff

Position Name
Team doctor   Dr. Ashay Jadhav
Head physio   Rajiv Kumar
masseur   Nitin Patel
masseur   Raju Salve

Management staff

Position Name
Team manager   Arihant Jain
Head of football operations   Pratham Basu
Kit manager   Parthiban Manogar
Kit manager   Senthil Kumaran
Reserve and Academy coach   Santosh Kashyap[52]

Board of directors

Position Name
Owner   MS Dhoni
Owner   Abhishek Bachchan
Owner   Vita Dani


As of 31 December 2021[53]
  •  *  denotes a player who is unavailable for the rest of the season
No. Name Nationality Position(s) Date of birth (age) Contract until Signed from
13 Vishal Kaith   GK (1996-07-22) 22 July 1996 (age 25) 2022   FC Pune City
24 Debjit Majumder   GK (1988-03-06) 6 March 1988 (age 34) 2023   SC East Bengal
27 Samik Mitra   GK (2000-12-01) 1 December 2000 (age 21) 2022   Indian Arrows
35 Devansh Dabas   GK (2001-09-10) 10 September 2001 (age 20) 2023   Lonestar Kashmir FC
2 Reagan Singh   RB (1991-04-01) 1 April 1991 (age 31) 2023   NorthEast United FC
3 Mohammad Sajid Dhot   CB (1997-12-10) 10 December 1997 (age 24) 2022   Odisha FC
5 Salam Ranjan Singh   CB (1995-12-04) 4 December 1995 (age 26) 2023   ATK Mohun Bagan FC
8 Edwin Sydney Vanspaul   RB/CM/CDM (1992-09-12) 12 September 1992 (age 29) 2023   Chennai City FC
18 Jerry Lalrinzuala   LB/LM (1998-07-13) 13 July 1998 (age 23) 2022   AIFF Elite Academy
21 Narayan Das   LB/CB (1993-09-25) 25 September 1993 (age 28) 2023   SC East Bengal
23 Slavko Damjanović   CB (1992-11-02) 2 November 1992 (age 29) 2022   FK TSC Bačka Topola
26 Deepak Devrani   CB (1992-12-10) 10 December 1992 (age 29) 2022   Gokulam Kerala FC
32 Davinder Singh   RB (1995-09-23) 23 September 1995 (age 26) 2022 Free Agent
36 Aqib Nawab   CB (2002-04-07) 7 April 2002 (age 20) 2022   Chennaiyin FC B
43 Balaji Ganesan   CB (2002-02-28) 28 February 2002 (age 20) 2022   Chennaiyin FC B
47 Rahul Manjula   LB (2004-01-16) 16 January 2004 (age 18) 2022   Chennaiyin FC U-16
12 Ninthoi Meetei   RW/RM/RB (2001-07-13) 13 July 2001 (age 20) 2024   NorthEast United FC
10 Rafael Crivellaro   CM/AM (1989-02-18) 18 February 1989 (age 33) 2023   C.D. Feirense
15 Anirudh Thapa (Captain)   CM/AM (1998-01-15) 15 January 1998 (age 24) 2023   AIFF Elite Academy
16 Ariel Borysiuk   CM/CDM/CB (1991-07-29) 29 July 1991 (age 30) 2022   Jagiellonia Bialystok
28 Germanpreet Singh   CM/CDM (1996-06-24) 24 June 1996 (age 25) 2022   Minerva Punjab FC
38 Subhadip Majhi   CM/CDM/CB (1999-05-20) 20 May 1999 (age 23) 2024   Kalighat FC
77 Vladimir Koman   AM/CM (1989-03-16) 16 March 1989 (age 33) 2022   Hatta Club
11 Rahim Ali   ST/LW/RW (2000-05-21) 21 May 2000 (age 22) 2023   Indian Arrows
22 Jobby Justin   ST/RW (1993-11-10) 10 November 1993 (age 28) 2023   ATK Mohun Bagan FC
42 Suhail Pasha   FW/AM (1999-09-26) 26 September 1999 (age 22) 2022   Chennai City FC
45 Mohamed Liyaakath   ST (2004-05-18) 18 May 2004 (age 18) 2022  Indian Arrows
50 Johnson Mathews   FW/AM/RW (2001-06-30) 30 June 2001 (age 20) 2022   Bank of India
99 Łukasz Gikiewicz   ST (1986-10-26) 26 October 1986 (age 35) 2022   East Riffa
9 Nerijus Valskis   ST (1987-08-04) 4 August 1987 (age 34) 2022   Jamshedpur
Vincy Barretto   ST (1999-12-08) 8 December 1999 (age 22) 2022   Kerala Blasters FC
Other Players with Contract
Dhanpal Ganesh   CM/CDM (1991-06-13) 13 June 1991 (age 30) 2022   Pune FC

[romario# right winger]

Top goalscorersEdit

Here is the list of top goalscorers across all competitions

Rank Player Name Matches Goals
1   Jeje Lalpekhlua 77 25
2   Stiven Mendoza 25 17
3   Nerijus Valskis 31 17
4   Lallianzuala Chhangte 53 12
5   Elano 26 12
6   Anirudh Thapa 101 8
7   Maílson Alves 57 8
8   Rafael Crivellaro 27 8
9   Raphael Augusto 69 7
10   Bruno Pelissari 25 7
11   Bernard Mendy 39 5
12   Mohammed Rafi 21 5
13   André Schembri 18 5
14   Dudu Omagbemi 13 5
15   Thoi Singh 84 4
16   Iñigo Calderón 32 4
17   CK Vineeth 18 4
18   Isma 16 4
19   Rahim Ali 40 4
20   Eli Sabia 79 3
21   Gregory Nelson 38 3
22   Dhanachandra Singh 30 3
23   Davide Succi 13 3
24   Vladimir Koman 11 3
25   Dhanpal Ganesh 43 2

In Bold: Players currently playing for
Chennaiyin FC





AFC Club RankingEdit

As of 5 December 2021[54]
Rank Team Points
228   Najran SC 1,259
229   Yokohama FC 1,259
230   Chennaiyin 1,259
231   JEF United 1,258
232   Police United 1,258

Continental recordEdit

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2019 AFC Cup Play-off round   Colombo 1–0[55] 0–0[56] 1–0
Group E   Minerva Punjab 0–0 1–1 2nd
  Manang Marshyangdi Club 2–0 2–3
  Abahani Limited Dhaka 1–0 3–2


The organizers of ISL introduced eISL, a FIFA video game tournament, for the ISL playing clubs, each represented by two players. Chennaiyin FC hosted a series of qualifying games for all the participants wanting to represent the club in eISL. On 20 November the club announced the signing of the two players. They won the inaugural eISL on 20th March 2022, following 2022 Indian Super League Final


Channaiyin FC eSports FIFA roster
Players Coaches
Handle Name Nationality
saranshjain7  Jain, Saransh   India 
Navinh29  H, Navin   India 
Head coach
  • Vacant

  • (I) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  •   Substitute
  •   Injury / Illness

Latest roster transaction: 19 November 2021.

See alsoEdit


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External linksEdit