Ahead of Mumbai City FC‘s match against ATK Mohun Bagan on Wednesday, 24th August, IFTWC sat down with the players from Mumbai for an exclusive interview.
Sitting with us was defender Amey Ranawade, who gave a stellar performance in the AFC Champions league before succumbing to an injury.
Our conversation began with reminiscing the performance of Mumbai City FC in the AFC Champions League where they showcased their abilities outside the nation. Amey left a mark on the audience before an unfortunate and ill timed injury forced him to sit out the rest of the tournament.
Amey, you were one of Mumbai City FC’s standout performers in the AFC Champions League. What did it feel like playing on that level and winning games?
“First of all, to play for Mumbai City FC was a big dream for me since childhood. Winning for Mumbai goes beyond them. Lifting the shield and trophy was an amazing experience. We continued to level up. Then came the AFC Champions League.“
“ It was the next target for us, a big opportunity and a challenge for the team to be able to play at that level. We prepared very well for it as we headed to Dubai. We faced some very good teams. It was a wonderful experience. Unfortunately I got injured . But we learnt a lot and now we know we can compete against other Asian teams and know where we stand. It was an amazing experience.“
How much confidence do you think that gives you now going into a long season?
“A great deal. We at Mumbai City stuck to our core beliefs as a team and showed our skill in that arena, competing against the best. Football isn’t simply about kicking the ball and running behind it and I believe our performance showed we are much more than that. So, since we competed against international teams and held our ground, I don’t see any reason why we cannot do it here. We are preparing for the upcoming matches and aim to bring the same level of performance here.
You’ve trained with the squad for a while now. How is the mood in the camp?
“It’s pretty much the same as the season in which we won. The management has provided for us very well and expect the same in return. We are enjoying the training and the Durand Cup over here in Kolkata and hopefully we will bring the trophy back home.”
Mumbai City FC played their opening match of the Durand Cup on 18th August against the Indian Navy football team and won.
You started against Indian Navy. What did you make of the team’s performance?
“We can do much better and I know we can win the medals. Mumbai City has brought in new signings and we are practicing daily. The fans can see that we have definitely improved in the next match.”
There are a lot of good defenders in the team – both Indians and foreigners, what do you feel about the kind of competition in the side?
“It is difficult. Every day in the training every player is competing for their position in the starting eleven. But this competition is good for us as it urges players to give their best. Mumbai has brought in great players which allows the team to raise the quality of our football. In addition our coaches guide us each step of the way ensuring we can bring out our best.”
What would you say are your personal goals from this season? Do you have any specific targets that you want to achieve?
“My biggest goal is to play for my country. But I must prove myself for that and win the the Durand Cup, Super Cup, ISL, and the other tournaments ahead of us.”
After a long while, the fans will be back in the stadium from this season. How much will that motivate you and what would be your message to them?
“I am excited to meet the fans. It has been two years since fans came to see us play. All of us missed playing before an audience. I personally did not have the opportunity to play in Mumbai and I aim to change that this season. Their presence will motivate the team greatly. We welcome them at our matches.”
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