Mumbai City FC, the reigning ISL League Shield winners had a decent run in the league last season where they had an undefeated period to boast about. Although the playoffs didn’t go as they planned. They were knocked out on the penalty shootouts by Bengaluru FC as both sides were unseparated despite playing two thrilling legs of football. In the Super Cup 2023, the Islanders fielded an all-Indian squad & displayed good performance as they won two of their three matches, but failed to make it through.
In the 23/24 pre-season, Mumbai City FC flew to Thailand for their training camps to escape from the Mumbai monsoon rains primarily and also get good facilities abroad. The side even played a couple of closed-door matches to come back to their best shape. Head Coach Des also got a chance to look at some of the new faces on the team. Mumbai City began their Durand Cup journey by comfortably winning three group-stage matches against Mohammedan SC, Indian Navy FT, and Jamshedpur FC. However, they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual champions Mohun Bagan.
What Are The Stakes?
The stakes for Mumbai City FC’s 23/24 season are simple yet very difficult. They have already proven from the last season that they are among the top two teams in India. And, that will put pressure on them to build upon those performances, and continue the same momentum this season as well. Not just the expectations on them to emulate last season’s ISL form but also the anticipation to perform the same way they did in the 2022 AFC Champions League where they won two games and finished second in the group.
Coach Des and Mumbai will now have to ensure that they keep on playing the same attractive brand of football they have been playing and then also bring the results. That’s all the fans are demanding.
Here are the players who have arrived at the club in the summer transfer window.
|Player Name||Position||Former Club|
|Akash Mishra (21)||Defender||Hyderabad FC|
|Jayesh Rane (30)||Midfielder||Bengaluru FC|
|Vinit Rai (25)||Midfielder||Odisha FC|
|Nathan Rodrigues (19)||Defender||RF Young Champs|
|Franklin Nazareth (19)||Midfielder||RF Young Champs|
|Seilenthang Lotjem (19)||Attacker||Sudeva Delhi FC|
|Nasser El Khayati (34)||Midfielder||Chennaiyin FC|
|Yoell Van Nieff (30)||Midfielder||Puskas AFC|
|Jose Luis Espinosa (31)||Defender||Mohun Bagan SG|
Among the arrivals, only Jayesh Rane has been signed on a season-long loan deal from his parent club Bengaluru FC. Rest all are on permanent transfers, either for free or with transfer fees paid in some cases.
Here are the players who have departed the club in the summer transfer window.
|Player Name||Position||Present Club|
|Ahmed Jahouh (34)||Midfielder||Odisha FC|
|Mourtdada Fall (35)||Defender||Odisha FC|
|Vignesh D (25)||Defender||Hyderabad FC|
|Asif Khan (22)||Midfielder||Inter Kashi FC|
|Naocha Singh (23)||Defender||Kerala Blasters|
|Gyamar Nikum (18)||Midfielder||Inter Kashi FC|
|Rowllin Borges (31)||Midfielder||FC Goa|
|Amey Ranawade (25)||Defender||Odisha FC|
|Gursimrat Singh (26)||Defender||East Bengal FC|
|Mandar Rao Desai (31)||Defender||East Bengal FC|
|Naorem Tondomba (24)||Midfielder||Delhi FC|
Only Naocha Singh, Gyamar Nikum, Rowllin Borges, Amey Ranawade, and Naorem Tondomba Singh have departed the club on a loan transfer. The remaining others have left the club on a permanent basis.
- Regulars Stay – Mumbai City FC have managed to hold on the core of the team
- ISL Experience – All the foreign players except Van Nieff have played in the India
- Team Chemistry – A decent bond between all the Indian and foreign players
- Squad Depth – A lot of options in the bench for Des to select from in case of injuries
- Inform Indians – The domestic players also possess top quality like the foreigners
- Overaged Foreigners – All 7 foreigners in the team are 30 years or older.
- Jahouh and Fall’s Absence – They were felt already as both played an important role.
- Lack of Full-Backs – There aren’t many options in that department, and that’s a worry.
- Chances Wasted – Despite creating many goalscoring opportunities, they aren’t finished.
- Vulnerable from Set-Pieces and defensive errors – Must limit these to register the wins.
Possible Starting Lineup
One Youngster To Watch Out For
Seilenthang Lotjem – A 19-year-old versatile player, who was the I-League’s top Indian goal scorer with six goals. The Manipuri youngster has been a prolific scorer throughout his career. Without any doubt, he will be the standout performer for Mumbai in years to come, with his overall contributions.
The promising winger joins the Islanders on a three-year contract. In 2020, Seilenthang was signed by Sudeva Delhi FC at the age of just 16 after coming up through the JCT Academy in Punjab. In his second season with Sudeva Delhi, Lotjem was promoted to the First Team and featured regularly in the 2021/22 I-League. Lotjem made ten appearances in his debut season and also scored one goal.
Lotjem shot to prominence came in the very next season as he went on to feature in as many as 21 times for Sudeva Delhi FC and most notably, scored 6 goals, which made him the joint-highest Indian goalscorer in the 22/23 I-League at just the age of 18. Youngster Seilenthang Lotjem is also capable of playing across the attack and midfield positions. He will be the one to watch out for the Islanders.
Although it’s very difficult to predict the future of a club and their performances for a year from now it’s not that tough for Mumbai City FC’s case. The side is coached by one of the ISL’s finest mentors Desmond Buckingham, and his experienced assistants. Not to forget about their star-studded team.
Indian Super League Table – On 2nd Place
Indian Super League Playoffs – Champions
Super Cup – Should make it to the Semi-Finals
AFC Champions League – 2nd Position in Group
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