Match Preview: Mumbai City FC vs. Atletico de Kolkata
Mumbai City FC looking for a winning start in Kolkata
*Syed Rahim Nabi named skipper, Manuel Friedrich to be his deputy
Mumbai, 10th October 2014: Mumbai City FC embarks on its journey to bring back football glory to maximum city as they launch their quest in the inaugural season of the Hero Indian Super League (HISL) crown with the season opener against Atletico de Kolkata in the mecca of Indian football on Sunday.
The team, co-owned by Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor and Chartered Accountant Bimal Parekh, had already made a statement of intent when they signed the likes of ex-Arsenal legend and former Sweden skipper Freddie Ljungberg, ex-Borussia Dortmund star and former German international Manuel Friedrich and French international and 2008-09 Premier League golden boot winner Nicolas Anelka. Now under the stewardship of ex-Everton icon Peter Reid, the club is determined to make a winning start to their campaign against one of the contenders for the crown in their home ground.
Commenting on the game, coach Peter Reid said “This is the start of the competition and so it is a massive game. It is a big opportunity to play here and hopefully we will come up with the right result.”
Reid also announced that Syed Rahim Nabi would lead the team in the inaugural edition of the HISL. “From the couple of weeks I have worked with the team, I have found him a natural leader, good communicator and a bubbly character within the dressing room. I think Nabi has great experience and knowledge of the game. Manuel Friedrich would be the vice-captain,” Reid added.
In the run up to the lung opener, Mumbai City FC has had a long pre-season camp to help the foreign and Indian players gel together and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each other. And the team has certainly done a lot of progress on that front, which could be gauged by the performance of the squad in the four friendlies they played so far.
They not only won all their four games, but the co-ordination between the mid-field and strike force would make them the team to beat in the tournament. Mumbai City FC’s Argentine striker Diego Nadaya has already scored two hat-tricks in the friendlies and will be a potent force upfront.
Among the team’s star recruits, Ljungberg might play his part in the match after recovering enough from a niggle he suffered during practice. “Hopefully, Freddie will get to play his part in the game,” Reid said.
The team also has a formidable force among their Indian stars with the country’s best goalkeeper Subrata Pal manning their goal-post and skipper Syed Rahim Nabi and local star Raju Gaikwad standing tall in defence and midfield.
According to the rules of the tournament, five Indian players have to be on the field at any given time and to Mumbai City FC’s benefit, most of their first choice players have first-hand experience of playing in the City of Joy.
Nabi hoped that the team would get good support from the local crowd as some of them have played in the city for a long time. “This is the first game and hence will be massive for all of us. We expect a good support for our team and we should get a positive result,” said Nabi.
Mumbai Cit FC signs Moritz
The team also announced the signing of 28-year-old Andre Moritz to the squad and the attacking midfielder is expected to man the left flank for the team.
The Brazilian born, Italian passport holder played in the second tier English Championship for Bolton Wanderers last season and also has the experience of playing in the Turkish and Brazilian leagues.
For Bolton, Moritz made 27 appearances, scored seven goals and provided three assists.