Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi believes the arrival of big footballers like Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos and former England international David Platt in the Indian Super League (ISL) will benefit Indian football.
Carlos has been roped in by the Delhi Dynamos franchise as its marquee player-cum-footballer while Platt has agreed to become the head coach of franchise FC Pune City.
Materazzi, former Italy defender and a World Cup winner in 2006, guided Chennaiyin FC to the semi-finals of the first edition of the ISL last year after leading the points table for a considerable part of the campaign. He led from the front, balancing the dual role of becoming the coach and player perfectly.
He welcomed the association of Platt and Carlos and said he was looking forward to the battle of their respective teams.
“I think it is great for the ISL that such big names (Carlos and Platt) are going to be managers. Their experience and guidance will help Indian football and footballers,” Materazzi told IANS in an interview.
Chennaiyin FC roped in two players from the ISL auction held here on Friday, securing the services of midfielder Thoi Singh and goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.
The former defender, who scored Italy’s equalising goal in the 2006 World Cup final against France, said the team needed two Indian players patrolling these positions and so the franchise decided to bid for them.
“We needed a good Indian midfielder and goalkeeper,” he said.
Chennaiyin bought Karanjit at his base price of Rs.60 lakh. Asked if it was worth shelling out such a big amount for an Indian goalkeeper, Materazzi said: “There is a very small pool of good Indian goalkeepers and Karanjit was the best available. This gives us the option of playing six outfield foreigners.”
Chennaiyin have already retained the services of last year’s marquee player Brazilian forward Elano Blumer and have bolstered their offensive line, acquiring Atletico de Kolkata forward Fikru Teferaa.
Materazzi, who was at the receiving end of an ugly headbutt from French star Zinedine Zidane during the 2006 World Cup final, said his target is to guide his team to the ISL trophy this season.
Chennaiyin bowed to Kerala blasters at the last four stage last season.
“Last year we narrowly missed out on reaching the final; this year the objective is to be champions,” he said.
(Debdoot Das can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)