Chennai, Apr 11 (PTI) Francisco Fernandes and Mohammed Rafi have renewed their contracts with ISL-4 champions Chennaiyin FC by one year each.

The 32-year old Fernandes was picked by Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory in last season s player draft despite undergoing an ankle surgery, a press release said.

The nippy winger from South Goa repaid the faith shown in him by proving to be a versatile and ever-present force in what was a campaign to remember.

He notched 17 appearances and scored one goal last season, but more importantly was efficient in whatever position he was deployed in.

“I can’t thank the coaching staff and club management enough for trusting in me. It is an incredible feeling as a player to have that kind of backing,” said Fernandes on continuing with Chennaiyin for one more year.

Having reached three of the four ISL finals so far (previously with ATK & Kerala Blasters), Rafi is another experienced figure in the Chennaiyin ranks.

He contributed vastly to Chennaiyin’s second ISL triumph with one of the goals against Jamshedpur FC, the release said.

“I am very happy to continue with Chennaiyin FC for one more year. The fight and resolve shown by us last season to win the title was amazing,” said 35-yearold Rafi.

Gregory stressed the importance of retaining the two experienced players.

“Keeping the core of our side intact from last season is of paramount importance. And Frankie and Rafi are integral members of that core. They’re almost unsung heroes of the side, top-class professionals who did a brilliant job for their team when called upon,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.