In a stunning transfer revelation Indian striker Sunil Chettri has joined the Durand Cup champions Chirag United till the end of I-league10/11 season, as Chirag United club chairman Kaustav Roy confirmed yesterday. The Delhi lad of Nepali origin certainly took, which was seen as, a monumental step towards globalization of Indian football when he became the first Indian to ply his trade in the US as he joined the Major League Soccer side Kansas City Wizards in March last year. Although, Sunil did not make any appearances in any league matches in the 2010 Major League Soccer season, he did get his shot at the big stage when he was substituted in the 69th minute in a friendly against Manchester United, which Kansas City Wizards won. Soon Chettri left the US side to train with the Indian national team participating in AFC Asia Cup’ Doha.

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Sunil scored twice in the AFC Asia cup, against Bahrain and South Korea. This again stamped and attested the fact that Chettri was very deadly in front of the goal.  Last Saturday, the US club officially released the Indian Hitman and since he was released at a time when most the big leagues in Asia have their transfer window shut down, the move back to I-league was quite imminent. The Delhi lad was also rumored to be heavily linked with A-league side Perth Glory.

Apart from the Indian striking sensation Sunil Chettri, Chirag united also signed South Korean Choi Young. The Kolkata side completed the signing of Choi, making him first player of Asian origin to don Chirag United colors in I-league. Choi, a former player of FC Seoul and FC Hyundai Mipo FC, would certainly add to the teeth to Subrata Bhattacharya mentored side in the midfield battle and Sunil Chhetri’s inclusion will give them an all new attacking dimension.

Let’s take a look at how these last day signings and Add On’s  may affect the Durand cup champions formation and strategy this season. Chirag United Sporting Club, are currently slotted at seventh, as they were not able to hit the back of the net at Tau Devi Lal stadium against the young Indian Arrows, in their I-league round 14 encounter.

Chettri is waiting for all formalities related to the International Transfer certificate (ITC) to be completed, so he was unavailable for this match. Subrata’s lads did start the season well when they were crowned the Durand Cup champions followed by an impressive fearless start to the I-League season. The side has somehow lost its way in recent rounds, dropping points in draws and defeats. They need a string of victories and good results to bounce back in the title hunting pack of teams, as the second part of the league topples over. Chirag United have  always preferred a 4-4-2 formation with the tried and tested frontline in Elijah and Josimar, both accounting for most of the goals scored by the kolkata giants. Elijah has been missing many matches due to his nagging injury, which probably was another  reason to sign the big budget Indian striker.

Will he be able to make any significant contribution to Chirag’s campaign?

Chirag United have sealed the services of Sunil for reportedly 23 Lakhs for rest of the matches left in the Indian Season. It would be very interesting where actually Sunil is slotted in the formation. He could play just behind any one of the two strikers, or he could also be the target man for the Lalkamal-Denson midfield. The duo have been nothing less than a sensation for the Kolkata side in the midfield, as it is their synch up, defence piercing through balls, which have led to goal spree in many matches. In fact Chirag United have scored more goals than fifth placed Mumbai FC, but the real problem for the side lies at the back, with defenders leaking in too many goals.

The new recruit Choi will have a key role to play in the midfield along with the regulars as he looks to prove his mettle for the side. His experience would be nothing less than gold dust for the young Indian midfielders, as the club looks to rekindle the fire to win the title or at least finish strong in the later half of the season.

The signing of former Sunil, who has previous experience of playing in big clubs like Mohun Bagan-East Bengal-JCT-Dempo, seems to be a very shrewd catch by Chirag United’s Technical Director veteran Subrata Bhattacharya, having mentored the Delhi lad in his early days for the Mariners. As the League now moves into its crucial matches, Chirag United would hope some spanking performances by the India international to help the Durand cup holders show their mettle in the league.

  • Pulok Malakar

    Good for Chirag but a step backwards for Sunil. Feeling bad for the lad. I hope he gets in to some Australian/Korean club next season.