Chennaiyin FC’s young sensation, Anirudh Thapa is of the opinion that playing away in Bangladesh and Nepal on unconventional pitches would be a tough task for the Marina Machans. The 21-year-old also stated that change in his playing position has brought has made his side more effective.
Chennaiyin FC and Minerva Punjab are the two sides representing India at the AFC Cup and unlike the I-League outfit, John Gregory’s side has started well in the continental campaign with seven points from three games as they top their group.
However, Chennaiyin have played all their games at home so far, and their form is expected to change when the side travel on the road. Thapa reiterated the same stating the ambience and pitch conditions in Abahani Dhaka and Manang Marshayngdi would make things very difficult.
"Leading the group is great but our real challenge is yet to begin. We did well at home. But now we have to play away games and it will be tough. We face Abahani in Dhaka next where the ground is very small and hard. The pitch in Nepal where we have to play Manang Marshyangdi is a plastic pitch and there will be passionate fans screaming at us. But we have to take everything in our stride because we cannot afford to drop points," said Thapa on the sidelines of a meet and greet hosted by Nippon Paint, reported TOI.
CFC have been in tremendous form since the end of a dismal league season where they finished at the rock bottom with record low points. Their performance in the Super cup AFC Cup have been exemplary as they reached the final of the elite knockout tournament and stand a very good chance of reaching the next stage of the continental competition.
Thapa has been of the opinion that changes in the mindset of the players and tactical setups have led the side to turn their fortunes. "We had a very bad season and we knew that we needed to turn things around. It wasn't that were not giving our all every time we stepped onto the pitch but things just didn't work out. But a bad season was motivation enough and it spurred us on. We changed a few things here and there.
"First and foremost we changed our mentality. We started to believe that we could win again. Also we made some tactical changes which worked. For example I played the whole ISL season as a defensive midfielder whereas now I more in an attacking position," he added.
While CFC boast of talents like Raphael Augusto, Gregory Nelson and more, Thapa has undeniably been their best player of late with two goals in Super Cup and one in AFC Cup. And while Thapa has been well aware of burning himself out, he has realized that starting for both his club and country isn’t an opportunity every player gets.
"Well I am tired because I am playing non-stop. I haven't had time to relax, go out with friends or anything. Even if physically I am fine, it takes a toll mentally to be honest. But as a young professional I can't complain because these are my formative years and the more I play, the more I will grow. I am also aware that getting starts at both club and national level is an honour and not many get it," he concluded.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi