Signing for Mumbai FC marks a new beginning to my career: Steven Dias

Steven Dias, the flag bearer of Mumbai Football on the national stage has made a return to playing football in the city after five years of playing for outstation clubs after the former Indian International signed for Mumbai FC for the upcoming I-League season.

Khalid Jamil straight away threw him into action in Mumbai FC’s 5-2 win over Union Bank of India in the MDFA Elite Division where Steven Dias showed glimpses of his true class. Steven Dias spoke about his delight at once again playing for a Mumbai based club, his obvious dismay at missing out on the Indian Super League and a desire to once again prove his worth to the Indian Football faithful, in an exclusive interview with Football Counter after the game.


1. You are back playing your football in Mumbai after five long years, how is the feeling?

SD: I am very happy to be back playing in my home town. I felt it was long overdue after I spent a lot of time playing outside the city. I always wanted to come back to Mumbai, but it wasn’t possible in the previous years. So when Mumbai FC offered me a chance to do so this season, I had no problems accepting it.


2. Cooperage, which is the city’s iconic football stadium, has undergone a drastic change during the time you were away. How do you find the new facility?

SD: I feel it is very different, but I have to admit that it has become better. I played here last year for Bharat FC in the I-League, but today was the first time I played for Mumbai FC at Cooperage and I liked the feel of it. The changes have made the overall facility better and it’s good for football in Mumbai.


3. You played for Bharat FC last season, but the club decided to shut down after just one season in the I-League, what exactly went wrong there?

SD: I don’t know what exactly happened there. When I left Pune at the end of the season, everything was in place. They had a great plan for the future and the club was running very professionally. After coming to Mumbai, I was waiting for Bharat FC’s call for the next season, but I heard that they were shutting down. It was a real surprise for me. I never felt any problems when I was there, so it was very surprising and sad to see Bharat FC shut down.


4. How was your experience as a player at Bharat FC?

SD: My experience as a player there was excellent. We had a team of English coaches who treated us extremely professionally. We used to have ice-baths after training sessions and that was something new for Indian football.  The training sessions too were very good. It is just sad that the club couldn’t continue for a loner time.


5. So how did Mumbai FC happen?

SD: I was preparing myself for the ISL as I was sure a club in the ISL would pick me in the draft for the competition. But unfortunately it didn’t happen and that was a surprise for me. I was disappointed, but I knew it wasn’t the end of the world. During the same time Mumbai FC came with an offer to me, which I decided to accept. I am very happy to be at Mumbai FC and this marks a new beginning to my career. I want to give my best and prove myself, so that I would make the ISL next season.


6. What was the conversation between yourself and Khalid Jamil like when Mumbai Fc came in with the offer?

SD: I know Khalid very well. We played together in the past and we had a good understanding. He said to me that he can use my quality to the benefit of the team. What I like about Khalid is that he hasn’t put any kind of pressure on me and has given me complete freedom to use my quality for the team. He knows my strengths and weaknesses well as we played together and that has been helpful for me so far.


7. With the Federation Cup scrapped, how important are these Elite Division matches for you, to prepare for the I-League?

SD: I feel these games are very important for us to gel well as a team. Personally, I never expected that the Federation Cup will be scrapped. It was a shock to me when I learnt about it. So these matches have become really important for us. We still have more players to join us from the ISL and we are looking at forming a solid unit in these games.


8. Mumbai FC had a fairly decent crowd turnout last time out, do you think that with you in the team now, one can expect a full house?

SD: I don’t know about that. I will give my best every time I play and I hope that people come to watch us and support us. Maybe because I am from Mumbai, people may come to support me.


9. Any message to your fans?

SD: I just want to say that we will give all our best this season, so please come and support us. My experience tells me that crowd support can turn a game in our favour. So please come to the stadium and cheer for us and hopefully this time we will be able to achieve a top three finish.

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