Mumbai City FC roped in former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan in the summer and will be hoping he’ll turn around the fortunes for them in season 3 of the Indian Super League.
In both editions of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), Mumbai City FC struggled to establish their supremacy against the country’s elite clubs. Despite having relatively stronger sides on paper, they have failed to gel well as a unit.
They would be hoping that the third season is the charm. In the previous campaign, player-cum-head-coach Nicolas Anelka had a torrid time with his dual role and he failed to narrow down on a preferred starting eleven.
Last season, the Maharashtra side won just four out of fourteen matches and ended the campaign in a disappointing sixth position. Even in the previous campaign, they struggled under Anelka’s tutelage.
Now, with a new manager in Alexandre Guimarães at the helm, the Ranbir Kapoor co-owned outfit have every reason to be optimistic for the upcoming campaign.
Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Roberto Volpato Neto
Amrinder Singh looked set to be Mumbai’s number one for the upcoming ISL campaign, but his absence will certainly be a huge blow to Guimaraes’ side. Albino Gomes and Roberto Neto both make a solid case for their selection, but the Indian does hold the upper hand.
Gomes began his footballing career with Sporting Goa and then moved over to Salgaocar. He was also in the India U-23 squad that played Uzbekistan in the AFC Championship Qualifiers. He had earlier traveled with the Salgaocar team to Manchester for the Manchester United Soccer Schools Tournament and also represented India in the AFC under-16 and under-19 championships.
Defenders: Aiborlang Khongjee, Anwar Ali, Ashutosh Mehta, Facundo Cardazo, Gerson Vieira, Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Lalmangaihsanga Ralte, Lucian Goian, Munmun Timothy Lugun, Walter Ibanez
Anwar Ali has been a mainstay in the Delhi Dynamos back-line for the past two seasons, and is indeed a key acquisition for the Mumbai team. He is an extremely adept defender and can play as a centre half as well as a right-back. He is at his best at the heart of the defence, and it is likely that he will played there for the Maharashtra side.
Romanian defender Lucian Goian is a key addition to the Mumbai side and is expected to hit the ground running at the D.Y. Patil Stadium. He has a fair share of experience under his belt and has also been internationally capped for the Romanian under-21s.
Midfielders: Boithang Haokip, David Lalrinmuana, Jackichand Singh, Krisztian Vadocz, Leo Costa, Matias Defederico, Otacilio Brito Alves, Pronay Halder, Rakesh Oram, Sehnaj Singh, Sony Norde, Udanta Singh
Jackichand Singh played a pivotal role in FC Pune City’s run in the initial stages of last season and may bring a lot to the table for Mumbai. His versatility is second to none and he also possesses a sharp footballing brain. He is quick on the ball, incisive with his passes and is set to be an integral part of Guimarães’ plans.
Another fascinating player in the Mumbai roster is Haitian winger Sony Norde. The 27-year-old is already popular among hardcore football fans in the nation as he has impressed with Mohun Bagan in the I-League. He has also made 23 senior appearances for his country and his experience will come in handy as Mumbai look to challenge for the elusive championship.
Forwards: Diego Forlan, Gaston Sangoy, Sunil Chhetri
Diego Forlan’s signing as marquee player is obviously one of the best in the three-year history of the competition. The Uruguayan has represented major European clubs like Manchester United and Atletico Madrid, and will be looking to shine in India’s elite footballing competition. His teammates will also look up to him and try to emulate his performances.
Indian captain Sunil Chhetri has been retained by Mumbai, but will miss the first few matches due to his commitments with I-League side Bengaluru FC. But once he returns, he is likely to slot into the number 10 role in-behind Forlan and will look to form a lethal strike force along with Norde and Jackichand
Manager: Alexandre Guimarães
The Costa Rican is likely to field a 4-1-4-1 with Pronay Halder anchoring the midfield. Mainstay Ashutosh Mehta and new signing Facundo Cardozo will be favoured to start in the full-back positions. Krisztian Vadocz and Matias Defederico could form a pheonomenal attacking pairing behind marquee man Forlan.