ISL: Analysing Mumbai City FC's Indian contingent ahead of ISL 2021-22
Mumbai City FC played a prolific brand of football last season, be it their foreigners or Indians. An overall display of beautiful football differentiated them from others. Before the season starts, let's take a look at their Indian contingent and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
Mumbai City FC created history last season when they lifted both the Indian Super League Trophy and the League Winners' Shield. Their journey was a fantastic one under their head coach Sergio Lobera as they came out victorious in most of their encounters and were the team to score the most number of goals. This season with a new managerial appointment and a few operations in the transfer window, the Islanders look even more dangerous. The best part about the City Football Group club is that their team is a mixture of experienced Indian custodians, brilliant foreigners and young Indian talents. Before the Islanders kick start their season, let's see what their Indian contingent has to offer.
Mumbai City FC's main strength was their style of play under their previous head coach Sergio Lobera. With the appointment of Des Buckingham, how the Islanders are planning to portray themselves on the pitch is to be seen. Their Indian brigade however, has a few players who can change the colour of the game by adding velocity to their attack and compactness to their defence. Their tendency of playing a possession-based game is surely a strength lacked by many other teams in the ISL. Apart from this, the inclusion of a gem of a player like Lalengmawia Ralte (Apuia) will increase the power in their midfield.
Mumbai City FC are a team which has very few weaknesses. But one of them shall definitely be the departure of Amrinder Singh whose presence under the sticks was of immense value to the team. Individual errors caused by Mourtada Fall may be a sign of caution for the Islanders but probably he'll work on this during the preseason because Mumbai City don't acquire the skills of such an impactful defender in the form of an Indian. Preferably, Mehtab Singh would be expected to start alongside the stalwart, but the club would still lack enough back-up in that position in his absence. Can the departure of Sergio Lobera and the arrival of Des Buckingham be called a weakness? Not yet. But maybe the effect will be witnessed in the first few games.
3 KEY INDIANS TO LOOK FORWARD TO
The 3 key Indian footballers to look forward to will be Bipin Singh, Rowllin Borges and Amey Ranawade. Bipin SIngh had been a powerhouse on the wings for Mumbai City FC last season; he scored six goals and provided with four assists in 22 appearances. His improvement from the previous seasons wasn't unnoticed by the fans. Rowllin Borges is a decisive figure in the centre of the park for the Islanders. His performance last season, after he was bagged in by the club, was stupendous. He made 1124 passes last season and had a passing accuracy of 82.47%. Apart from this, he also committed 80 tackles and made 57 interceptions. The last name on the list is of Amey Ranawade, though some may feel Raynier Fernandes' name could also have been added. But the promise which the 23-year-old displayed was applaudable. Initially a central defender, Ranawade was used as a right-back last season. In the process, he made 67 tackles and 34 interceptions. It is expected that Buckingham will be expecting a similar performance from him this time as well.
3 YOUNG INDIAN PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
The three youngsters on which you can place your bet are Lalengmawia Ralte 'Apuia', Mehtab Singh and Vignesh Dakhshinamurthy. The signing of Lalengmawia Ralte a few months back by the Islanders from NorthEast United FC for a record transfer fee amazed the Indian football fraternity. The defensive midfielder is perhaps a star of the future and his performance last season with the Highlanders was sparkling enough to earn him a chance to don the national colours for the first time in March, 2021 against Oman. Last season, Apuia wore the armband for the Highlanders and became the youngest captain in the history of the Indian Super League. The 20-year-old appeared in every single game for the club and his performance throughout the league earned him the prestigious Emerging Player of the Season award in the ISL and FPAI Young Player of the Season award. Mehtab Singh, who was previously a part of SC East Bengal and Gokulam Kerala FC joined the Islanders last season and made 12 appearances for the club displaying an appreciable performance. The last name on the list is of Shanmugam Venkatesh's nephew Vignesh Dakhshinamurthy. A few months back the club extended his stay till 2025. The 23-year-old made 22 appearances last season and his performance as a left-back is evidence enough for his extension. Apart from his defensive abilities, the young lad from Bengaluru also scored a brace against Hyderabad FC.
Whom do you think will turn out to be the best Indian footballer for Mumbai City FC?
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