1/13/2019 1:11:16 PM (GMT+3)

Chennaiyin 'B' face Kerala Blasters reserves in I-League II opener


CHENNAI: Chennaiyin FC B will commence their Second Division I-League campaign against Kerala Blasters reserves on Monday at the Panampilly Ground in Kochi, Kerala.

In their second consecutive appearance in the second tier of Indian football, CFC B are pitted against Bengaluru’s Ozona FC and South United FC, and Fateh Hyderabad AFC apart from KBFC in Group B.

The matches will be played on a home-away basis with CFC contesting their home games at the SSN College ground here.

Under Sameer Shaikh, a former Youth Development Coach at DSK Shivajians, CFC B have been training in Goa over the last three weeks. And as part of their preparations, they’ve faced Goa Pro League outfits Vasco SC and Sporting Clube de Goa as well as FC Goa reserves and Guardian Angel Sports Club in practice games.

“The training and practice matches in Goa have helped immensely in getting the boys match fit. They need to hit the ground running and use the games as an opportunity to develop. If they work hard and persevere, this can be a springboard for them to make the next step to the CFC senior team,” said Shaikh.

The CFC B squad comprises talent from Tamil Nadu and around the country, including a number of CFC U-18 boys who qualified for the final round of the 2018-19 Hero Elite League recently, after winning the Chennai zone with an unbeaten record.

Having finished bottom of their group with two wins in last season’s Second Division League, the CFC B starlets with an average age of 18 years garnered some valuable big-game exposure from competing against senior professional teams like Mohammedan Sporting (Kolkata), Langsning FC (Shillong) and Tiddim Road Athletic Union FC (Imphal).

Their aim will be to improve on last year’s showing while focusing on their overall development and growth.

CFC B are one of six Indian Super League clubs (except NorthEast United FC, Mumbai City FC, FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos FC) fielding reserve teams in the preliminary round of the 16-team tournament.

The preliminary round group winners from Group A and Group B and the top two teams from Group C will progress to the final round.

However if an ISL reserve team finishes in the qualifying positions, the slot will be passed on to the next non-ISL team.

Group A: Lonestar Kashmir, Hindustan FC, ARA FC, Bengaluru FC (R), FC Goa (R)

Group B: Kerala Blasters FC (R), Chennaiyin FC B, South United FC, Ozone FC, Fateh Hyderabad AFC

Group C: ATK (R), Jamshedpur FC (R), Mohammedan Sporting, Rainbow AC, Chhinga Veng, TRAU FC