Updated March 27th, 2024 at 19:12 IST

Chhetri becomes first Indian to sign with Latin American club

Colon Futbol Club is a 116-year-old professional football club based in Montevideo and currently competing in the second division of Uruguay

Chennaiyin FC's Bijay Chhetri during the team's training session | Image:Chennaiyin FC

Rising Indian footballer Bijay Chhetri has completed his move to Colon Futbol Club, Uruguay from Chennaiyin FC. It is a loan until the end of the year with Colon Futbol Club retaining the option to make the signing permanent.

With this, he became the first Indian footballer to sign a professional contract with a Latin American club. Colon Futbol Club is a 116-year-old professional football club based in Montevideo and currently competing in the second division of Uruguay.

Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani expressed her happiness on the Bijay’s move. She commented: “We are extremely proud to see Bijay make his way to one of the world’s biggest football nations. Uruguay are forever etched in the game’s history, with four stars on their chest as winners of two Olympic gold medals in 1924 and 1928, the first World Cup in 1930 and then repeating in Brazil in 1950. And Colon Futbol Club are part of that heritage; founded even before the first World Cup. I wish Bijay the very best and we are all hoping for his success as he makes history as the first Indian player to secure a contract with a Latin American club.”

Marcelo Rifas, director of Colon Futbol Club, speaking on the transfer said, “When a Bijay’s profile was proposed to us, looking at his videos from the past, his profile and our internal references we got more and more confident of the player. Now we sincerely hope he can come at the earliest and get integrated into our team. We see him as a solid first team player for us. It also helps us open a line of sourcing players from a new marketplace.”

As part of their commitment towards nurturing and developing young Indian talent, the two-time ISL champions Chennaiyin roped in Chhetri in July last year and since then the talented 22-year-old defender from Manipur has been training and honing his skills under the expert coaches of the club.

“I feel so excited to get this opportunity for the new challenge in my professional career. I hope to put in good performances to enhance my game, repay the trust shown in me by Colon FC and to keep the Indian flag flying high. I am very well aware that If I do well it can pave the way for future Indian players also to move abroad into these markets.

“I wish to sincerely thank Vita Dani and the Chennaiyin FC management along with my agency Soccer Consultants Group for facilitating the transfer. Without their help it wouldn’t have been possible,” Chhetri expressed.

Published March 27th, 2024 at 19:12 IST