“We’re using this tournament to prepare us for the AFC Champions League,” says Des Buckingham after a strong start to Durand Cup

Kolkata, 9th August 2023: Mumbai City ran out comfortable victors against Jamshedpur FC, winning 5-0 in their second game of Group B of the 2023 Durand Cup, as the Islanders continued their pre-season preparations ahead of their participation in the Indian Super League and particularly, the AFC Champions League.

Des Buckingham’s side now sit atop their group after two wins in two games and while the 38-year-old Englishman was pleased with his side’s performance, he cut a figure of focus with his attention firmly on the significant challenges that lie ahead in the season.

“I am happy with the result, as I would be with a 5-0 scoreline anywhere,” said Buckingham. “We had a game two days ago and it was only our second competitive game of the season. So we had a plan around making sure we got more minutes into certain players, but also giving opportunities to other players in our squad,” added the Islanders’ Head Coach.

The Islanders first qualified for the AFC Champions League in the 2022 edition of Asia’s premier club football competition and went on to write a piece of Indian football history – winning two games and finishing second in the Group Stage. With a second appearance in as many editions coming up for Mumbai City, Des Buckingham has his sights set on preparing his squad for competing on multiple fronts, especially against Asia’s elite clubs.

“I spoke earlier about using the Durand Cup to prepare us for the AFC Champions League. I’m happy with the minutes and the performance of the players who started but it’s important to test the depths of our squad to give other players minutes and opportunities to showcase what they can do. They were a large reason as to why we were successful last year, whether they started or finished the game, and it’s going to be the case this season too,” asserted Buckingham, speaking about using the full extent of his squad in the competitive season ahead.

As Mumbai City continue their 2023 Durand Cup campaign against the Indian Navy FT next, the Islanders will be looking forward to finding out their opponents at the 2023-24 AFC Champions League with the Group Stage Draw scheduled for August 24.

Also ReadMumbai City’s commanding 5-0 win places them firmly at Group B summit

Also ReadMFA Super League 2023-24 set to commence August 17

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