Isaac Vanmalsawma has spoken of the impending excitement of working under former Aston Villa boss John Gregory ahead of the new campaign with Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin.
Gregory, who also managed QPR, Derby County and Pompey, is bidding to win his second title for the cub on the bounce after leading the outfit to their second Indian Super League crown by defeating Bengaluru 2–3 in the finals in March.
Vanmalsawma is one of three players signed recently, alongside defender Zohmingliana Ralte and right-back Laldinliana Renthlei, with all three penning two-year contracts. Vanmalsawma and Zohmingliana signed from FC Pune City and Bengaluru FC and Laldinliana moved from Chhinga Veng FC.
And winger Vanmalsawma, 21, said he was especially thrilled to come under the tutelage of Gregory, given his vast experience and success. He added:
“I am very excited to have joined the champions. I can’t wait to work under a successful coach like John Gregory and further develop as a player. I hope to help Chennaiyin retain the ISL title.”
Zohmingliana, meanwhile, is also excited at the prospect of furthering his career with the switch. He said:
“Chennaiyin has been the most consistent team in ISL history and I aim to give my best to help them achieve their targets in all competitions.”
Head coach Gregory is reaping the rewards of hard work, dedication and a willingness to adapt to what was for him a whole new ball game in India. On claiming the title in his first season in the job, he said:
“If I’m still the only Englishman to have won it in 20 years’ time I’ll be happy. It is enormously satisfying.
“I’ve never been to India before and trying to acclimatise ourselves to the way people live, the way people drive, the way people treat you with respect. From a professional point of view, there’s a lot of red tape that we have to adhere to here. Obviously, some of that is frustrating, but you have to get used to it. The travelling is also different and a bit long.”
Meanwhile, Bengaluru FC have secured the services of Bhutanese winger Chencho Gyeltshen, who is aged 22, ahead of the new season. Chencho, who has been affectionally dubbed the Bhutanese Ronaldo, was a stand-out ace for Minerva Punjab last term and helped them to the I-League title with an impressive strike record of seven goals in 18 appearances.
Speaking of his move, Chencho told of his ambition to maintain his development for both personal gain and that of his new team. He said:
“Bengaluru FC is one of the top clubs in India but more importantly, it has been my dream to play for them and I’m really ever so happy that the move has happened for me. It’s a team with so many experienced players and the aim has to be to keep learning from them and improving with every passing day at the club.”