Amrinder Singh: Next season will be a new beginning for Mumbai
Mumbai City FC custodian Amrinder Singh feels the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) season may be the beginning of something special for the Islanders. With City Football Group (CFG) acquiring a 65 per cent stake in the club midway through last season, Mumbai joined an elite list of clubs under the ownership of the Abu Dhabi-based group, which includes Premier League champions Manchester City and six other top clubs all over the globe.
Association with a group of CFG’s stature comes with its own perks and with the effects expected to take full hold starting from Hero ISL 2020-21, Mumbai’s most capped player of all time can’t help but be excited at the prospects. “This is a great deal for Mumbai City FC. We have a new platform for the young Indian players to learn new things. The new season will be a new beginning for us. All the young players will dream of coming to Mumbai and play under the wing of the City Football Group. In the coming days, Mumbai will create such a team that all the players will want to come here. This is one of the biggest deals in Indian football. Hopefully, some great coaches will come here too,” the Mumbai shot stopper said during a conversation with Anant Tyagi in the latest episode of Let’s Football Live.
Rowllin Borges and the Indian contingent at Mumbai
Mumbai have already parted ways with former head coach Jorge Costa and a successor, who will take the club forward in line with the new vision, is expected to be named in due time. However, irrespective of whoever comes in, he will have a solid base to build upon, especially considering Mumbai already possess an impressive roster of Indian stars, including Amrinder, along with a host of promising young Indian players.
Amrinder is a leader in the Mumbai dressing room and had some glorious reviews for the team’s young guns. “We have a lot of young players among the Indian contingent. I think they are very dedicated, especially during the training sessions. None of them give up, they are always motivated. We have Raynier Fernandes, Sarthak Golui, Bipin Singh, Bidyananda Singh, Pranjal Bhumij. I am glad that we have such young players in the team who are always working hard and give their best while training. They fight for a place in the team instead of complaining about the lack of chances. For example, Bidya didn’t get too many chances, but when he did get his chance, he performed very well, he assisted a few goals, and scored one too.”
The 28-year-old reserved some special praise for teammate Rowllin Borges, who joined the Islanders from NorthEast leading upto Hero ISL 2019-20 and almost immediately established himself as one of the core components of the side. “Rowllin has been at his best form this season. I have seen that nowadays many Indian players follow a proper diet plan, and this is one of the reasons for his progress. I have seen him in training as well, he is always smiling. He never leaves his work half-handed. He is a very serious training. He will always be working out. He is a great player and the great person as well. He is a very brave player as well. He always wants to give his best.”
The season gone by and playing under Costa
Looking back at the season in which his team only narrowly missed out on a spot in the semifinals, Amrinder noted, “We had a great start to the season, we kept clean sheets against both Chennaiyin and Kerala. But we were plagued by injuries. Around six to seven players were out, including key members like Modou Sougou and Paulo Machado, even Borges was injured for a while in between. But we were in contention for the top four throughout the season. It was a proud moment for me that despite these injuries we performed very well, and we never gave up. For example, in the game against Jamshedpur, we fought till the very end and got the points. If we gave up, we would have not fought till the very end. If we gave up, we never have been able to make it so far.”
The India international also credited former head coach Costa for instilling the gritty mentality in the side which kept them in the top four race right till the final match of their season. “Costa built the mentality that we were a family more than a team. This was evident on the pitch and in the dressing room as well. This was the reason we kept fighting till the last moment. He inculcated a winning mentality into the team as well. He has played in the highest reaches of the beautiful game. He has won the Champions league, and has played under some big coaches, he knew how to handle the team. Under him we learnt a lot of things, both on and off the field. He treated all his players as a friend. He ensured that we fought till the end, till the last game of the season,” the Punjab-born keeper opined about the Portuguese, under whom he played in the previous two seasons.