The Mumbaikars are looking to rebuild after avoiding relegation last season…
Last season’s performance: 5th
The Mumbaikars narrowly avoided relegation last time around finishing with 19 points from their 16 outings with four wins, seven draws and five losses. Following the disappointing campaign they also parted company with former player and long-time head coach Khalid Jamil.
Jamil has been succeeded by the experienced tactician Santosh Kashyap in the Mumbai hotseat. The 50 year-old is vastly traveled on the Indian football scene and has managed a number of clubs in the I-League.
Understandably after the disappointmentment of last season Mumbai have gone in for a major overhaul of the squad bringing in a host of new faces in order to build a stronger campaign.
Transfers In: The Mumbaikars have been busy in the window and have strengthened across the pitch. FC Goa’s Laxmikant Kattimani will compete with Kunal Sawant for the spot in goal. Defender Pratik Chowdhary and talented Kashmiri striker Farukh Choudhary have been acquired from Kerala Blasters. Reagan Singh, Lalchhawnkima and Munmun Lugun further bolster the backline.
Experienced midfielder Steven Dias has been retaned to provide leadership and control in midfield, while youngster Thoi Singh adds muscle in the middle of the park. Siam Hanghal joins from champions Bengaluru FC while Victorino Fernandes comes in from Sporting Clube de Goa.
Transfers Out: Keepers Sanjiban Ghosh and Pawan Kumar have headed for the exit. They are joined by defenders Srikanth Ramu, Thiyam Chingkheinganba and Ashutosh Mehta who has joined Aizawl FC. Midfielders Malemngamba Meetei, Taisuke Matsugae, Eric Brown, Asif Kottayil, Darren Caldeira and Arata Izumi have moved on. The frontline will also have a new look to it with the departures of Rohit Mirza, Ryuki Kozawa, Jayesh Rane and Cletus Paul.
Formation and Tactics
Mumbai’s recruitment this season suggests they aim to strike a balance between attack and defence and therefore the squad as it stands looks most suited to a fluid 4-4-2 formation
Kattimani should get the spot between the sticks. Lalchhawnkima will partner Allan at centre-back in the inital games, but could make way for a foreigner upon his arrival. Reagan Singh and the impressive Chowdhary will be expected to bomb forward on the overlap. Thoi will be the anchor in midfield screening in front of the back four. Hangal will likely compete with a foreigner for his spot if thiis formation is retained over the season. Nikhil Kadam and captain Steven Dias will provide the width flanking the striker duo of Victorino Fernandes and Choudhary, who could also be displaced by a foreigner.
Man to Watch: Thoi Singh
Mumbai’s survival last season went down to the last round of games and they will want to ensure a more comfortable campaign this time around. However, with a replenished squad manager Kashyap has set his sights on a top three fimnish. But, that will be easier said than done.
1) Hitesh Sharma – Midfileder
2) Clyde Fernandes – Defender
3) Karan Sawhney – Forward
4) Chinta Chandrashekhar – Defender
5) Nikhil Kadam – Midfileder
6) Siam Hangal – – Midfileder
7) Shalum Pires – Defender
8) Pratesh Shirodkar – Midfileder
9) Lalchhawnkima – Defender
10) Victorino Fernandes – Forward
11) Shilton Fernandes – Midfileder
12) Allan Dias – Defender
13) Faruk Choudhary – Forward
14) Laxmikant Kattimani – Goalkeeper
15) Pratik Chaudhary – Defender
16) Steven Dias – Midfileder (Captain)
17) Thoi Singh – Midfileder
18) Munmun Singh – Defender
19) Kunal Sawant – Goalkeeper
20) Reagan Singh – Defender
*Mumbai FC are yet to announce the names of the four foreign players who will make up their overseas quota this season. So, some of the above information is subject to change.