Season Preview: New dawn for Mumbai City FC with new coach & new signings

Mumbai City FC has undergone massive changes since last season. With Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group buying a majority stake in Mumbai City FC, the club has revamped the squad in a grand way ahead of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL).

The biggest name to have joined the club is head coach Sergio Lobera. The Spaniard has already proven himself in the Hero ISL with FC Goa. Lobera led FC Goa to the final of the 2018-19 season, and was in charge for the large part of last season when the Gaurs cemented their place atop the league table. Key to his team were Mourtada Fall, Ahmed Jahouh, Mandar Rao Dessai and Hugo Boumous, ‘Hero of the League’ with 11 goals and 10 assists in 15 matches. They all will don Mumbai City FC jerseys this season.  

Lobera has also roped in midfielder Hernan Santana, who played under him at UD Las Palmas back in Spain. Lobera’s familiarity with the key players bodes well for the Islanders this season.

Although Mumbai City’s midfield looks strong thanks to the retention of Rowllin Borges and Raynier Fernandes, this season their strength will be their attack. Over the last few seasons, the club have not really made much of an impression up front. This might change in the upcoming edition though, with the addition of striker Bartholomew Ogbeche, who is nothing short of a goal machine.

Ogbeche scored 12 goals in 18 matches in his debut Hero ISL season with NorthEast United FC and followed it up with 15 goals in 16 games with Kerala Blasters FC. With 27 goals in 34 matches, Ogbeche is among the most lethal strikers in the Hero ISL this season and his arrival is a big boost for the Islanders, no two ways about it.  

The firepower for Mumbai City FC does not end there, with Adam Le Fondre also ready to set the league ablaze. Le Fondre’s most recent exploits have seen him score 45 goals in 67 appearances for A-League side Sydney FC, leading them to two Grand Final wins and one Premier Cup in two seasons.

Lobera has also roped in a couple of solid Indian performers like Mohamad Rakip and Tondonba and both will look to tighten Mumbai’s FC defence.

Having been trophy-less so far in his three seasons in the Hero ISL, Lobera will settle for nothing less than the prestigious Hero ISL trophy this season. He has assembled the right bunch and fans will back him to go all the way.     

Best Finish: Play-offs in 2016 and 2018-19 Hero ISL

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Nishit Shetty, Vikram Singh, Phurba Lachenpa

Defenders: Amey Ranawade, Valpuia, Mourtada Fall, Mehtab Singh, Mandar Rao Dessai, Tondonba Singh, Mohamad Rakip, Sarthak Golui

Midfielders: Ahmed Jahouh, Bidyananda Singh, Bipin Singh, Hernan Santana, Raynier Fernandes, Rowllin Borges, Sourav Das, Hugo Boumous, Cy Goddard, Asif Khan, Farukh Choudhary, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Vikram Partap Singh, Pranjal Bhumij

Forwards: Adam Le Fondre, Bartholomew Ogbeche

Fixtures:

Vs NorthEast United FC – November 21

Vs FC Goa – November 25

Vs SC East Bengal – December 01

Vs Odisha FC - December 06

Vs Chennaiyin FC – December 09

Vs Jamshedpur FC – December 14

Vs Hyderabad FC – December 20

Vs Kerala Blasters FC – January 02

Vs Bengaluru FC – January 05

Vs ATK Mohun Bagan – January 11

*Fixture list for Mumbai City FC announced as of now

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