The I-League kicks off this weekend and TheHardTackle takes a look at two Mumbai based clubs, Mumbai FC and ONGC. The squad analysis of both these club follows.

Mumbai FC

After barely surviving in the top flight last season, Mumbai FC will look to change their fortune this season. The club has shown faith in their head coach Khalid Jamil for almost 3 years now. The youngest coach in I league will look to pay back his employers with better results in upcoming season.

Mumbai FC

Mumbai FC as expected, after the horrid last season, has released lots of surplus players. Khalid Jamil has been more careful this time around while signing players. Mumbai FC will have to show some character and perform well in the upcoming season.

Squad Analysis

GoalKeepers : Sanjiban Ghosh, Sharath K, Kunal Sawant.

After Ishan Debnath decided to move to Prayag United, Mumbai FC have signed Sharath K. The goalkeeper has performed well for his former club Chirag United Kerala in the past, but last season he was largely inconsistent. He will have to improve on his consistency.

Other two goalkeepers in the team Sanjiban, whom the club has retained, and Kunal, who has moved from rivals Air India, are still inexperienced.

Defenders : Haroon Fakrudin Amiri, Faizal Rehman, Ritesh Perambra, Peter Costa, Dane Pereira, Justin Stephen, Evan Quao, Kamaljeet Kumar, William Colaco.

Mumbai FC has been vulnerable in defense in the past. They have signed a few players who may solve their problem at the back. Justin Stephen, Kamaljeet Singh and William Colaco are new faces in backline moving from Prayag United, Pune FC and Dempo SC respectively.
Mumbai will depend on their two versatile foreign recruits Ghanaian Evan Quao and Afghan international Amiri, both of whom can play anywhere in defense and can support in offensive moves when required.

Midfielders : Sampath Kuttyamani, Rohit Mirza, John Coutinho, Nicholas Rodrigues, Ashutosh Mehta, Subhash Chakraborty, James Singh, Eric Brown.

Mumbai FC has released a lot of players and most them are midfielders. The biggest setback the club got was when charismatic midfielder Cavin Lobo switched to East Bengal.

Khalid Jamil has kept his options limited this time in midfield. He has signed James Singh from HAL SC, who is expected to play in the middle of the park, along with Sampath Kuttyamani. Subhash Chakraborty and Nicolas Rodrigues are expected to provide service from the flanks.

Youngsters such as Eric brown, John Coutinho and Ashutosh Mehta will look to make an impression this season.

Strikers : Jayesh Rane, Abhishek Yadav, ND Opara, Gabriel Fernandes, Yusuf Yakubu

One of the big names signed by Mumbai FC this season is ND Opara. The Nigerian will be the target man up front and he has already made his presence felt in recently concluded Federation Cup by scoring three goals. Indian international Abhishek Yadav and veteran Ghanaian striker Yusif Yakubu, who may have lost strength and pace but have a lot experience will be vital for the team and are expected to provide support to Opara upfront.

Most of the Mumbaikars are keenly looking forward to see highly rated striker and top scorer of I league u-20 Jayesh Rane. The striker has shown his class in junior level now it’s time to see how he performs with the big boys. Another striker in team is young Gabriel Fernandes, who moved from Sporting Clube de Goa.

The Final Word

Mumbai FC will look to improve on their last year’s performance and give something to cheer to the Mumbaikars. Mumbai FC has quite a number of good foreign players in the team, but their success in the league will depend on how the Indian contingent in the team supports these foreign imports.

ONGC

ONGC have made their comeback in I league after getting relegated two years back. ONGC will look to survive this year in the I-league.  Subrata Bhattacharya will be looking forward to win a few matches against the odds. ONGC have bolstered their squad with lot of youngsters.

This time around ONGC have been scheduled to play fewer matches in Delhi than they will be back to Mumbai.

Goalkeepers : Prasanjit Ghosh, BIlifang Nazary, Rehnash T.P

All three goalkeepers in ONGC are relatively new. They will have to work hard to give their club a chance to stay in I league. Prasanjit Ghosh is expected to be the first choice between the sticks. He had decent matches against East Bengal and Sporting in the recently concluded Federation Cup.

BIlifang Nazary and Rehnash .T.P are the other goalkeeping options that ONGC have at the moment.

Defenders : Kamal Thapa, Garry Dmello, Robin Gurung, Rickey Joy, Bimal Minz, Sachin Gawas, A. Naresh, Dharmesh Patel, Hassan  Odeola, Sourabudin Mollick.

Kamal Thapa and Nigerian Odeola will have to share the responsibilities of stopping rival strikers. Sachin Gawas, who has represented Goa in this year’s Santosh Trophy, has also performed well in Federation Cup. The defender even scored a goal against Kalighat MS. Robin Gurung is another good option Subrata Bhattacharya has in his arsenal.

ONGC have roped in young defender and SESA football academy graduate Garry Dmello who will look to impress.

Midfielders : Rajib Boro, David Lalrinuama, Joel Sequeira, Sandeep Sangha, Jatin Bisht, Lalmuan Puia, Nitesh Monde, Dhanesh MC, Kalash Patil, Katsumi Yusa.

Katsumi Yusa has been the mainstay in midfield for ONGC, the Japanese has not only controlled the play from midfield, but has also scored goals for the club. Subrata Bhattacharya will look for good performances from Sandeep Sangha, Jatin Bisht and Kalash Patil.

Subrata Bhattacharya has to give confidence to the relatively young ONGC midfield to perform well.

 Strikers : Oneyama Eke, Tarif Ahmad and Keniston C

ONGC will look to play with a lone striker up front. Nigerian striker Oneyama have shown his class scoring few goals in Federation Cup 2012. He will need support from the midfield though. Tariff Ahmad, former Indian International, will look to revive his career at the highest level of Indian football.

Final Words

ONGC have a relatively inexperienced squad. They will struggle to remain in I league. Subrata Bhattacharya has a big task in hand. ONGC have to play as a team if they want to have any chance of surviving relegation

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Written by Guest Author Ashlesh Ajgaonkar. Follow the Author on Twitter