Chennaiyin FC won their second Indian Super League (ISL) title on Saturday night, thanks to a 3-2 win over Bengaluru FC, who were the favourites to win before the game.
But thanks to a familiar show of resolve, something that has been evident throughout the season, the boys from Chennai reigned supreme in Bengaluru. A fighting spirit and resilience were the hallmarks of the squad, which was driven to success by the unrelenting John Gregory.
One of the key men behind assembling a winning team was the Chennaiyin FC Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Amoy Ghoshal.
Ghoshal has been associated with the team ever since its inception and has been one of the major factors behind the team's rise in stature as the most successful club in the ISL. Moreover, the Marina Machans are now set to represent India in the AFC Cup qualifiers for next season.
Amoy Ghoshal has been actively involved in Indian football for more than a decade now and has in-depth knowledge of the players, competitions and various other facets of the game in the country.
Coach Gregory has paid homage to Amoy for having helped him identify the right targets when it came to putting together their Indian contingent.
"We had put together a great squad in the summer and huge credit goes to Amoy (Ghoshal). I knew very little about the domestic players, Amoy knew everything about the domestic players. He was instrumental in helping us recruit the right players. Not just good footballers, but good people as well," Gregory had said before the final.
Mind you, this is serious praise from a coach who has worked in prestigious competitions like the Premier League. The club owners also share the same appreciation of the man who has gained a reputation as an ace scout already.
"The scouting and recruitment team has been very important. We're (owners) involved but do we go into the far reaches of Tamil Nadu and try identify players? No. Amoy, Vita (Dani) and I sat down within a week of the league finishing last season and tried mapping our strategies for the next season. We work very hard," said one of the co-owners, Abhishek Bachchan, to Goal in an interview midway through the season.
"We debate on the players that we need and there is a lot of back and forth that is going on. We have discussions. We have a great team headed by Amoy. We all sit together and spend a lot of time, putting a team together."
Amoy's rise through the organisation has come as a result of his diligent and effective work. He also acted as the Chief Scout of the team during the 2015 season which also culminated in silverware and was credited for assembling a competent Indian contingent. He identified the targets during the first ever player auction and draft before that season.
Credit has got to Vita Dani and Abhishek Bachchan for trusting a young Ghoshal to pick the Indian contingent back in 2015. They recognized the analytical brain of Ghoshal when it came to Indian players and that move has certainly paid dividends.
He has also been the driving factor behind the team acquiring several promising youngsters like Jerry Lalrinzuala, Anirudh Thapa, Baoringdao Bodo, Germanpreet Singh and the likes. He was always involved in formulating the tactics and strategy with Gregory, who decided to go into the season with Jeje Lalpekhlua as their lead striker instead of a costly foreign one. And that move has paid dividends as well.
In fact the club chose not to spend over the top and utilize the money in building the youth teams, on his advice. Ghoshal's expertise just does not stick to Indian players though.
He was also behind the decision to bring in John Gregory to Chennaiyin FC, interviewing him in London on behalf of the team before giving his all-clear.
His proactiveness is highlighted by the fact that when he found out that Henrique Sereno, who was part of ATK's title-winning squad last year, was not interested in renewing his contract with the Kolkata-based side, Ghoshal swooped in and brought him to Chennai.
Voila, and Sereno has led the team to the title.
"ATK contacted me and I almost signed there. But I started to see the players that they were signing and I didn’t agree with it. Then Amoy Ghoshal spoke with me and I came to Chennaiyin FC,” he revealed to Goal.
Unlike many owners in the ISL who have got it wrong for several seasons running, the Chennaiyin FC owners have put their faith in the right personnel. After the ISL player draft, there were many within the Indian football circles who believed that the club has made several mistakes in recruiting players. However, their concerns were allayed on Saturday evening as Chennaiyin FC romped to their second league title.
It is safe to say that in Amoy Ghoshal, Chennaiyin FC have one of the best, if not the best, experts in Indian football right now and credit has to go the team owners for entrusting him with the responsibility.