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    Anirudh Thapa to lead Chennaiyin FC

    Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC have appointed midfielder Anirudh Thapa as their captain for the upcoming ISL 2021-22 season, which starts on November 19, which is scheduled to get under way in Goa on Friday.

    Today, Chennai officially announced the appointment of Thapa as the ISL Captain. The eighth edition of the ISL kicks off with a match between ATK Mohan Bagan and the Kerala Blasters at Fatord Stadium. Anirudh Thapa has been with Chennai for the last six years. He has won two ISL titles with Chennai.

    Chennaiyin, who won the title in 2015 and then in the 2017-18 season, made the announcement via a tweet and a small video clip on Monday.

    India international Thapa, who had first signed a long-term deal with Chennaiyan in 2016, takes over the armband Brazilian playmaker Rafael Crivellaro. He was sent on a loan spell to Minerva before returning to the club in May 2017. He came in as a substitute in the final against Bengaluru FC as Chennaiyan FC won their second ISL title.

    “I think not much has changed for me after being appointed the captain. I have been here for six years now and’so it’s not hard to understand what the club wants. They want to win. And so do I. But as captain, there is an added responsibility. To grow up a little bit faster. I will still be a boy who loves football but I will also ensure that the team stays together on and off the field. And I will always protect my team and my players,” Thapa said on being named the captain.

    The 23-year-old Thapa is a  vital player for the club and was named deputy to Crivellaro last year.

    He has made 69 appearances for Chennaiyin and has won the ISL title in the 2017-18 season He was an integral part of their run to the final in 2020.

    Chennaiyin take on Hyderabad FC in their opening match of the 2021-22 season on November 23 at GMC Balayogi Athletic

    The 23-year-old Thapa has replaced Brazilian playmaker Rafael Crivellaro, who had led the club in the first half of the previous ISL edition before being sidelined with an injury.

    Thapa, an India international, has been donning the Chennaiyin colours since 2016 and is set for a sixth successive season at the two-time ISL champion.

    “I will still be a boy who loves football, but will ensure that the team stays together on and off the field. I will always protect my team and my players,” added Thapa. While the captain has been announced, CFC is yet to unveil its squad for ISL Season 8.

    Anirudh Thapa is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Indian Super League club Chennaiyin, which he captains, and the India national football team.

    The midfielder has been a mainstay for the Marina Machans ever since he made his debut in the ISL back in 2016 and continues to be one of their most capped players.

    Graduated from the AIFF Elite Academy back in 2016, he was immediately roped in by the Chennai-based side. After a tough first season, the midfielder sprung into the limelight the following year, winning the AIFF Men Emerging Player of the Year as he guided Chennaiyin FC to their second Hero ISL title.

    It was a matter of time that he got a national call-up, with him making an international debut in 2017 itself. Anirudh Thapa has made 24 appearances for the Blue Tigers, along with a couple of goals to his name. The playmaker will shoulder more responsibility in the upcoming season, with the captain’s armband round his hand. However, he feels that nothing has changed for him.

    Chennaiyin FC finished at the eighth spot last season with just three wins from 20 matches, which was underwhelming from the two-time champions. However, with a revamped side, things might turn out better for the Marina Machans. Either way, Anirudh Thapa remains one of the most potent weapons in their hunt for a third Hero ISL title.

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