Anirudh Thapa: Charged resurgence after injury setback
Starting under St. Stephen’s Academy in Chandigarh as well as the AIFF Elite Academy, Anirudh Thapa’s debut in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) came with Chennaiyin FC in 2016, after which he established himself as a regular during their title-winning campaign 2017-18.
He featured prominently for the Marina Machans in 2018-19 and helped them to the Hero ISL final in 2019-20. Hero ISL 2020-21, however, didn’t turn out as per expectations largely on account of an injury.
Thapa kick-started his Hero ISL journey with Chennaiyin FC – his first season as a professional footballer at a senior level and the exposure aided his development. He made his debut in their final game that season and Thapa immediately displayed his quality, supplying an assist.
Thapa witnessed a breakthrough season, flourishing in the role of an impact substitute playing 16 games in all. The youngster contributed two goals and assists as Chennaiyin FC were crowned champions.
Thapa's performances in the Hero ISL earned him a national team call-up and his influence grew the following season. He established himself as a regular in the starting XI and was a key player even as Chennaiyin FC missed out on the playoffs.
Thapa was at the heart of Chennaiyin FC's resurgence as they bounced back from a rocky start to reach the playoffs. He found the net once and supplied six assists in their run to the final.
Thapa made the headlines by becoming the first Indian goalscorer that season. He missed six games due to an injury but when on the pitch, the youngster always made an impact with his creativity and relentless energy.
From being an impact substitute to developing as a key player for his club, Thapa has come a long way. Now, one of the finest midfielders in the country, the best is yet to come from the Dehradun lad.