Mumbai FC travel to troubled Mohun bagan in their I-League opener

Mumbai FC

Mumbai FC will kick off their campaign tomorrow as they prepare to face a troubled Mohun Bagan side at their legendary Salt Lake stadium in what promises to be a cracking contest between two fairly even sides as I-League action returns to the city of Kolkatta.

The hosts are in the middle of a crisis as the club is facing plenty of financial instabilities and have been in troubled waters ever since the controversial dismissal of Subhas Bhowmick.

Mohun Bagan have failed to ease their off field problems, with a dismal display in the Federation Cup. The resignation of their top officials which included their president has only compounded to their woes.

So with the I-League kicking off this weekend, Mohun Bagan fans will be hoping their side puts the unrest to bed as they prepare to face a formidable Mumbai FC side at home.

As far as the team news is concerned, Mohun Bagan are likely to be without their marquee signing in striker Pierre Boya who is nursing an injury, while forwards Katsumi Yusa and new signing Soni Norde expected to lead the attack.

They will be supported by Lalkamal Bhowmick and Denson Devdas in midfield, as ex-Mumbai FC player Anwar Ali is expected to line up against his former team.

Mumbai FC on the other hand, don’t have off field problems to worry them, but their on-field form hasn’t been the best as well with the club failing to reach the Federation Cup semi-finals bowing out with just one win in the competition.

Mumbai FC are without the services of midfielder Paresh Shivalkar who is out with an injury. Khalid Jamil has no other injury concerns. Kunal Sawant is expected to be in goal with new signing Chika Wali also at Jamil’s disposal in defence alongside Kali Alaudeen, Justine Stepehen and Dean Perreira.

Former Indian midfielder Climax Lawrence who will also captain the side is expected to be Mumbai’s main man in midfield alongside Pradeep Mohanraj, Sampath Kuttimani and one of Ashutosh Mehta and Rohit Mirza. Brazilian striker Josimar Da Silva and Mohammed Rafi will form what looks like a potent Mumbai attack.
The Brazilian striker has been in scintillating form netting 11 goals in 9 games in the Mimbai’s Elite Division. His coach Khalid Jamil though doesn’t read much into the goals as he expects the level of competition to increase substantially. “Yes, he has scored so many goals, but against weaker opponents. Here, the competition is much higher and he (Josimar) will have to raise the level of his game to be able to score consistently in this competition.”
Josimar Da Silva shares his coach’s vision, ”My mentality is to score more goals. I want to be the top scorer in the I-League as well as the Mumbai League. I believe I can do it. I believe Mumbai can be champions. That’s my mentality”.

The coach was unconcerned that the club will launch their campaign in an away fixture against Bagan in their own den. “Every match, away or home, is a match. So you don’t have to think too much about it and instead we have to be mentally focused for the challenge. I have prepared the boys for such kind of big match situations as I don’t want to lose control of the players,” admitted Jamil.

Coach Jamil was also quick to put behind the club’s dismal showing in the just concluded Federation Cup. Playwin-Mumbai FC won just one game against Sporting Clube de Goa and drew goalless with East Bengal, but lost 1-2 to Royal Wahingdoh, Shillong and 0-2 to eventual runners-up Dempo SC. “I am definitely disappointed with the Fed Cup results. But we have to take those setbacks in out stride. Now we have to think fresh, be positive and be ready for the big league,” he quipped
In the corresponding fixture, Mumbai FC came away with a 1-1 draw and a similar result would please Khalid Jamil. But with the problems surrounding Mohun Bagan at the moment, this may well be Mumbai FC’s best chance to come away from the Salt Lake stadium with all three points

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