Kolkata: All the teams, be it in the I-League or the Indian Super League are getting ready for the upcoming season of Indian football where both these tournaments would run simultaneously. While this is a completely new challenge, the teams in both these leagues have already started building their squad with the best guidance possible. In a bid to put up a better show next season, Chennaiyin FC of the ISL has replaced Italian Marco Materazzi with new head coach Englishman John Gregory on Monday.
Materazzi helped Chennaiyin FC to clinch the ISL title in the second season as a player-manager. The 63-year old Gregory made his professional debut way back in 1972 and carries with him an experience of over 40 years both as a player and a coach.
Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani said in a statement, “We are very happy to have appointed John as our head coach. He has immense experience at the very highest level of the game both as a player and coach and his vision and personality matches our club philosophy and ambition. We look forward to a great season under his guidance.”
A midfielder, Gregory has over 600 league appearances in English football and also has represented England at the national level on six occasions.
He began his coaching career at Portsmouth after which he moved to the Plymouth Argyle and Wycombe Wanderers. He then joined English Premier League club Aston Villa and in his four year stay at the club, he led them to FA Cup final in 2000 at the Old Wembley stadium.
Gregory left Aston Villa in 2002 and then he joined Derby County and Queenspark Rangers. After that he moved to Israel where he coached Maccabi Ahi Nazareth and FC Ashdod after which he moved to Kazakhstan to coach FC Kairat. His last coaching stint was with Crawley Town, a third-tier club in English football.
Miguel Angel Portugal new Delhi Dynamos coach
Not only Chennaiyin but another ISL team- Delhi Dynamos too has ended their tie with their Italian manger Gianluca Zambrotta as they have roped in Miguel Angel Portugal, a former Real Madrid player.
Zambrotta led their Delhi to their best ever finish in the ISL last season when they ended up third after reaching the semi-finals. “Yes, I’m in contact with Delhi Dynamos. I will be signing the contract in the next 2-3 days,” said Miguel.
The 61- year old had won a lot of titles with Real Madrid during 1979-1983 and has also played for clubs like Cordoba, Rayo Vallecano and Real Valladolid.
He has managed sides like Racing Santander and Cordoba and Real Madrid’s Castilla (youth side). He has also coached
Bolivian side Club Bolivar and Brazil’s Atletico Paranaense. Besides coaching and playing, he has also written a book on football training.