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ISL- Indian Super League

Comparing Des Buckingham and Petr Kratky's mentorship at Mumbai City FC

Published at :May 27, 2024 at 2:08 PM
Modified at :May 27, 2024 at 2:08 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Atawaris Warsi


Both Des Buckingham and Petr Kratky created a significant position for themselves in the Islanders’ history books.

Des Buckingham and Petr Kratky have etched their names in Mumbai City FC‘s history, each leaving a distinct mark on the club’s journey. Buckingham’s era heralded record-breaking domination, characterised by an unprecedented 18-match unbeaten streak and a relentless attacking style of play. 

However, his sudden departure in 2023 paved the way for Petr Kratky to step in and seamlessly continue the team’s success. Kratky’s adaptability and trust in youth propelled Mumbai City to another ISL cup title, showcasing a continuation of the club’s attacking ethos. 

In this article, we at Khel Now will compare both Des Buckingham’s and Petr Kratky’s tenure at Mumbai City FC:

Des Buckingham: An Era of Record-Breaking Domination (2021-2023)

Des Buckingham’s arrival in 2021 marked a turning point for Mumbai City FC. While the 2021-22 season yielded a respectable fifth place finish, it was merely a taste of what was to come. The following season (2022-23) witnessed the rise of a Mumbai City juggernaut under Buckingham’s leadership.

Mumbai City FC Des Buckingham Petr Kratky
Buckingham flourished not only at Mumbai but also at Oxford United. (Courtesy: ISL)

Champions and Record Breakers

They conquered the ISL championship, dismantling all challengers in their path. This feat was further magnified by their record-breaking 18-match unbeaten streak, the longest ever witnessed in ISL history. Their reign extended beyond just winning; they shattered numerous ISL records, including most points accumulated, most goals scored in a single season, the best goal difference achieved, and many more. Buckingham’s impact wasn’t limited to domestic competitions; he also guided the team to a commendable performance in the group stage of the AFC Champions League.

Beyond Results: Building a Culture

Beyond the results on the pitch, Buckingham fostered a positive and empowering environment for the players. He instilled a fearless and attacking style of play (4-3-3 formation) that resonated with the fans. This philosophy emphasised short passing, controlling the tempo of the game, and creating scoring opportunities through attacking wing play. He also successfully bridged cultural gaps, leaving a lasting impact on the club’s culture.

Petr Kratky: Adaptability and Delivering Success (2023-Present)

In a surprising turn of events, Buckingham departed for Oxford United in November 2023, leaving Mumbai City in a state of transition. Enter Petr Kratky, the assistant coach from Melbourne City FC, tasked with leading the title defence mid-season. 

Mumbai City FC Des Buckingham Petr Kratky
Kratky succeeded in his first major managerial role. (Courtesy: ISL)

Despite inheriting a team that was the defending champion but struggling early on, Kratky managed to achieve numerous impressive feats. He successfully guided the team to the ISL cup victory, demonstrating his ability to adapt to a challenging situation and get positive results. 

Seamless Transition and Continued Dominance

Kratky seamlessly transitioned into Buckingham’s 4-3-3 formation and possession-based philosophy. The Islanders continued their attacking dominance under his tutelage, overwhelming opponents with relentless attacks through the wings and precise passing into the box. Defensively, they maintained a deep line with a congested box, boasting the league’s best defensive record with just 19 goals conceded during the regular season.

Trusting Youth and Delivering the ISL Cup

Kratky faced his share of challenges, including the departure of key foreign players in January. However, he displayed faith in the young Indian talent available. Lallianzuala Chhangte thrived under this trust, becoming the league’s highest-scoring Indian player with 10 goals and six assists. Youngster Vikram Partap Singh also flourished, scoring eight goals and contributing four assists in 23 appearances. These Indian sensations played a pivotal role in Mumbai City’s dramatic stoppage-time victory over FC Goa, securing their spot in the ISL final.

Despite missing out on the ISL Shield by a single point to Mohun Bagan on the final league matchday, Mumbai City emerged victorious in the ISL cup final. They stuck to their fast-paced, possession-based approach, eventually overcoming a 1-0 deficit to win 3-1 with goals coming from Jorge Diaz, Bipin Singh, and Jakub Vojtuš.

Looking Ahead

Petr Kratky will continue to lead Mumbai City FC into the next season. With the foundation laid by both Des Buckingham and Petr Kratky, Mumbai City FC are poised for continued success, with a strong focus on youth development alongside their attacking brand of football.

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