Chennaiyin name Dhanpal Ganesh in squad for 2019 AFC Cup qualifying playoff round

Two-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC have announced a 25-man squad for their 2019 AFC Cup qualifying playoff round against Sri Lanka’s Colombo FC and the big news is the inclusion of local fan-favourite Dhanpal Ganesh, who missed Chennaiyin’s entire Hero ISL title defence due to a knee injury.

It was also announced that Chennaiyin FC will be playing the home match of the two-legged qualifying tie at The Arena by TransStadia, Ahmedabad, since playing Sri Lankan opponents in Tamil Nadu would not be politically conducive.

This is Chennaiyin’s debut AFC Cup campaign following their 2017-18 Hero ISL title success and they are placed in the South Asian Zone of the competition. This qualifying tie against Colombo FC is for a place in the group stage of the 2019 AFC Cup.

Colombo defeated Bhutan’s Transport United 9-2 on aggregate in the preliminary round and will be hosting Chennaiyin in the first leg at the Colombo Race Course Ground in Colombo on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. Chennaiyin’s home leg will be played in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

Australian Christopher Herd, who joined Chennaiyin in the January transfer window, will be the club’s Asian player in the qualifier with the Brazilian trio of Mailson Alves, Eli Sabia and Raphael Augusto being the other three foreigners.

Four youth team players have also been included in the squad. Defender Hendry Antonay (U-18 & B team) and midfielder Zonunmawia (B team), who were also part of the 2018-19 Hero ISL first team squad, are joined by defender Reamsochung Aimol (B team) and forward Bawlte Rohmingthanga (B team).

Following the 1-0 defeat away to FC Goa in their final 2018-19 Hero ISL fixture on Thursday, Chennaiyin will continue their AFC Cup preparations in Goa and leave for Sri Lanka on Monday, March 4.

Chennaiyin FC – 2019 AFC Cup Qualifying Playoff Round Squad:

Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, Sanjiban Ghosh, Nikhil Bernard

Defenders: Mailson Alves (Brazil), Eli Sabia (Brazil), Zohmingliana Ralte, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Laldinliana Renthlei, Tondonba Singh, Hendry Antonay, Reamsochung Aimol

Midfielders: Christopher Herd (Australia), Anirudh Thapa, Germanpreet Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Raphael Augusto (Brazil), Thoi Singh, Francisco Fernandes, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Halicharan Narzary, Zonunmawia

Forwards: Jeje Lalpekhlua, CK Vineeth, Mohammed Rafi, Bawlte Rohmingthanga

Chennaiyin FC – 2019 AFC Cup Qualifying Playoff Round Fixtures:

First leg: Wednesday, March 6, 2019: Colombo FC (Sri Lanka) vs Chennaiyin FC – Kick-Off: 15:30 IST

Venue: Colombo Race Course Ground, Colombo

Second leg: Wednesday March 13 2019: Chennaiyin FC vs Colombo FC (Sri Lanka) – Kick-Off: 19:30 IST

Venue: The Arena by TransStadia, Ahmedabad

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