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Chennaiyin FC sign versatile Masih Saighani


Chennai, Aug 19: Chennaiyin FC on Monday announced the signing of 32-year-old Masih Saighani on a free transfer for the 2019-20 Indian Super League (ISL) season.

The versatile former Afghanistan international can be deployed as a central defensive midfielder or central defender and has previous experience of playing in India with Aizawl FC. Saighani joins Chennaiyin after a season-long stint at Bangladeshi side Abahani Dhaka.

"It will be an honour to play for Chennaiyin FC, head coach John Gregory and the club's fantastic supporters. I am very thankful for this opportunity. CFC and the Indian Super League have always impressed me, and I am excited to participate in the tournament," he said in a statement.

Coach John Gregory also expressed his satisfaction over the club's latest recruit.

"Masih (Saighani) is an experienced player who ticks all the boxes for us. He has an imposing physical presence, is lethal in the air and is extremely comfortable on the ball. He can contribute defensively and build up play going forward as well," the coach said.

Saighani is a former Afghanistan international, and was a member of the Afghan side that finished runners-up in the 2015 SAFF Championship, losing to India in the final. He scored twice in that tournament. 

Having moved with his family to Germany from Afghanistan at a very young age, Saighani played for more than a decade in the German lower divisions before his move to Aizawl FC ahead of the 2017-18 I-League season. 

He also appeared for them in the AFC Champions League qualifier, AFC Cup and Super Cup subsequently, before moving to Abahani Dhaka.

Saighani has crossed paths with Chennaiyin with his former clubs, most recently with Abahani in the AFC Cup last season. He also scored against Chennaiyin in Abahani's 3-2 win in Bangladesh. With Aizawl FC, Saighani faced Chennaiyin in the 2018 Super Cup round of 16, which the former won on penalties. 

Prior to that, he also featured for Aizawl in a closed-door 0-1 friendly defeat against Chennaiyin ahead of the 2017-18 season. 

He will be reunited with one of his former teammates from Aizawl, young Chennaiyin right back Laldinliana Renthlei.

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