Indian Super League holders Chennaiyin FC announced a pre-season friendly with the Malaysian Indian Football Association (MIFA) on September 4 in the Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya Stadium, it was announced here at a joint press conference with MIFA officials.
Like Chennaiyin FC, MIFA was also founded in 2014, and is co-owned by the Malaysian Indian Sports Council and the Malaysian Indian Football Association.
They currently compete in the Malaysian Premier League, the second tier of Malaysian football, and finished third in the 2018 season.
Chennaiyin FC Head Coach John Gregory addressed the media along with players Jeje Lalpekhlua and Dhanpal Ganesh, lauding MIFA's initiatives ahead of seeing his team back in action.
"We are excited to play a pre-season friendly against a team that is doing great things for the Malaysian-Indian populace here. On behalf of the club I would like to thank MIFA for initiating this friendly match. MIFA had a very good domestic season and are doing very well in the Malaysia Cup. We are looking forward to a very tough and exciting contest on September 4 and also engage with the Indian community here in Malaysia," he said.
MIFA general secretary K.V. Anba added:
"MIFA wishes to welcome the current champions of Indian Super League, Chennaiyin FC to Malaysia. Through this close working relationship with Chennaiyin FC, MIFA is certain both clubs will scale to greater heights through effective management and sustenance via sound developmental programs. Thank you Chennaiyin FC for the opportunity to work together. Let the journey begin."
CFC and MIFA are also in talks for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will make friendlies between both sides an annual affair, with a friendly match also likely to be played in Chennai in 2019.
A specially designed trophy was unveiled at the press conference with the two teams competing for this new piece of silverware on September 4. Hence the fixture will be decided on penalties if it ends in a draw.
The two-time ISL champions will also be involved with MIFA in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives at two Tamil schools - Vivekananda Tamil School and Fletcher Tamil School - on Sunday, September 2, before the pre-season friendly two days later.