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Mandar Rao Dessai set to follow Sergio Lobera to Mumbai City FC

Published at :April 9, 2020 at 6:01 PM
Modified at :April 16, 2020 at 3:45 PM
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Tarkesh Jha

The left-back refused a three-year contract extension from the Gaurs.

The FC Goa captain Mandar Rao Dessai has decided to follow his former coach Sergio Lobera who is very close in taking over the coaching role at Mumbai City FC. Apparently, Dessai had a contract renewal offer from Goa on the table but he decided against staying at the club.

Lobera’s imminent arrival at Mumbai is a sign that a flurry of players whom he trusted at Goa could join him in this new project. Accordingly, Mandar was offered a three-year-long deal by both the clubs. The value of the contract from the Islanders is worth ₹2.85cr for three-seasons. Mandar will earn ₹90 lakhs in the first year, ₹95 lakhs in the second and rest ₹1 cr in the final year.

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However, an official speaking to the Times of India seemed to suggest the actual reason behind the fullback’s switch to the Islanders was not the intricacies of the contract. The individual said, “Mandar’s decision to join Mumbai is not about money. The difference in what Goa offered him and what he will be paid at Mumbai is not significant. It’s clear that he wants to continue his association with Lobera.”

Earlier, we had reported that Ahmed Jahouh would be joining Mumbai on a massive 5.2 crore worth two-year deal. There have been rumors advocating that veteran Senegalese centre-back Mourtada Fall could follow suit, but we have not yet obtained any further details regarding his possible move to the City Football Group-owned franchise.

From Mumbai’s perspective, this transfer makes a lot of sense. Subhasish Bose was one of their most integral and capped player in the squad. However, Bose’s transfer to the newfound ATK-Mohun Bagan joint entity means that the left-back slot was vacant in the squad. Thereafter, the Islanders chased Nishu Kumar but the 22-year-old preferred to shift to Kerala Blasters, also because of the lucrative long-term Rs 5 crore+ contract that the team from down south offered to him.

In such a situation, it was requisite for Mumbai to rope in an equally credible name for the all-important defensive spot. Mandar Rao Dessai’s affinity with Sergio Lobera must have been a major factor behind such a decision. Whereas, Mumbai would also be keen to have him over, considering that the 28-year-old is experienced with the toil of the ISL and also earned a national team call-up under the tutelage of Igor Stimac in 2019. Dessai has made 97 appearances in the Indian Super League. He has scored six goals, registered 11 assists and been resolute yet dynamic with his defensive displays.


He is capable of playing higher up on the flank too and his overall gameplay acquired a completely new dimension under Lobera’s guidance. Maybe, that is one of the primary reasons why he gave up the temptation to lead his side in the AFC Champions League and instead decided to collaborate with his former coach in this new venture.

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