Players who have won the Hero ISL title with both ATK and Chennaiyin
Winning the coveted Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) title is a special and memorable moment that not many players get the opportunity to experience. Over the course of six seasons, three clubs have gotten their hands on the prestigious trophy but only a select few players have lifted the title more than once. Here we have a look at those individuals who were crowned Hero ISL champions with both ATK FC and Chennaiyin FC.
The Indian midfielder has featured in all six seasons of the Hero ISL so far, winning the title twice. His first Hero ISL triumph came with Chennaiyin in 2015 in a campaign that saw him provide three assists despite playing just seven matches.
However, the 27-year-old was much more involved with ATK in his second title-winning season. Rane made 18 appearances for the three-time champions in Hero ISL 2019-20 and provided three assists besides also finding the back of the net once as ATK became league champions for a third time.
Apoula Edima Edel Bete
The Cameroon-born goalkeeper won back-to-back Hero ISL titles in the first two editions of the league. He lifted the trophy with ATK in the inaugural season, which saw him make nine appearances, keep four clean sheets and produce 38 saves. He conceded just six times, had an impressive save percentage of 86.36 and was an assuring presence in goal for ATK’s defence to fall back on.
His second season in the league saw him lift the Hero ISL 2015 crown with Chennaiyin. The shot-stopper also won the Golden Glove award with the Marina Machans after keeping six clean sheets and making 37 saves, including a couple of stunning saves in the 2015 final to deny Goa from finding the back of the net. He joined FC Pune City in Hero ISL 2016 but couldn’t quite repeat his title-winning heroics with the Stallions.
Fikru Teferra Lemessa
Like Edel, Fikru won Hero ISL 2014 with ATK before going on to lift the title with Chennaiyin the following season. ATK’s targetman in the inaugural Hero ISL campaign, the Ethiopian striker scored the first-ever goal in the league with a cheeky chip over then Mumbai City FC custodian Subrata Paul. He went on to score five times and provide two assists over the course of the season.
Fikru’s second season in the league with Chennaiyin wasn’t as prolific as his first but he still made 11 appearances for the Marina Machans and found the back of the net once in what was a crucial strike against ATK that helped seal the southerners’ participation in the final.
The physical Portuguese centre-back’s first Hero ISL season was with ATK in 2016. Sereno made 10 appearances for the Kolkata-based outfit that year after becoming integral to their backline. A threat in the opposition box as well, it was Sereno who scored ATK’s equalizer against Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero ISL 2016 final en-route to the club winning its second title.
The following season saw him join Chennaiyin and become captain for the southerners. A leader and calming presence in the defence, Sereno made 16 blocks, 30 interceptions, 52 tackles and 101 clearances as he led Chennaiyin to their second Hero ISL title.
Part of the ATK squad that won the first Hero ISL season, Rafi found himself shifted out wide on the wings during the majority of his time with the league’s most successful club. He made 10 appearances for ATK in 2014 and was used a lot as a substitute as head coach Antonio Habas looked for impetus from the bench.
He then moved to Kerala in 2015 and netted four times for the Blasters that year. Rafi also found the back of the net against ATK in the 2016 final before eventually losing the match on penalties. He joined Chennaiyin ahead of the 2017-18 season and scored for them twice as a substitute during their second title-winning campaign.
Despite being a two-time Hero ISL champion, it’s worth mentioning that Bikramjit’s first experience of a Hero ISL final with the Gaurs ended in disappointment as Chennaiyin beat FC Goa in the 2015 final. The following year, though, saw him get his hands on the trophy as a part of the ATK squad that lifted the title under Jose Molina.
Hero ISL 2017-18 saw him move to Chennaiyin and the combative midfielder enjoyed more game time with the Marina Machans, making 15 appearances and being in the thick of the action during the southerners’ run to their second title.
The first Indian scorer in Hero ISL history, Balwant’s first Hero ISL title came with Chennaiyin in 2015. However, he was restricted to just six appearances in Hero ISL 2015 and couldn’t quite make his presence felt in the attacking-third for Chennaiyin.
After a return to the league with six goals for Mumbai City FC in the 2017-18 season, he joined ATK and became champion for a second time in Hero ISL 2019-20. His only goal for ATK last season was an injury-time winner against NorthEast United FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.