After a season of setting new records, the Indian Super League (ISL) champions, Mumbai City FC, are now eager for the upcoming season as they kick off against Mohammedan SC in their opening match of the Durand Cup Group B at Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.

After an intensive two-week pre-season tour in Thailand, the Islanders are brimming with motivation as they prepare to immerse themselves in Asia's oldest football tournament.

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham has enlisted a full-strength lineup for the Durand Cup, unlike certain other clubs, as the Islanders aim to grasp the coveted trophy that they narrowly missed out on last year after a 2-1 defeat to Bengaluru FC in the final.

The Englishman conveys his thoughts regarding the upcoming season and how he plans to proceed in this campaign.

“It’s another exciting season for us. This is my third year at the club, and we want to build up on what we did last year and the records that we broke. The manner that we went about breaking those records and achieving what we did was the most pleasing thing for me. So it’s the continuing trying to get better as a club and trying to get better in terms of how we play, I want to continue to try to push all these players to see how far we can actually get them to improve upon in their career,” Buckingham said in the pre-match press conference.

“It’s very much about just trying to improve on what we did last year. And we’ve spent the last two and a half weeks trying to do that to prepare ourselves well for what will certainly be an exciting Durand Cup,” he added further.

Mumbai City FC finds themselves grouped with Mohammedan SC, Indian Navy, and Jamshedpur FC, two of whom they encountered last year as well. The Islanders crossed paths with the Kolkata-based team during the semi-finals of the 2022 Durand Cup, where the I-League side offered a formidable challenge. Buckingham believes that their opponents this Saturday won't be a walkover, as they boast considerable strength.

“We played them last year, and Mohammedan gave us a very good game and took us to the 80 to 90 minute to actually score the winner that put us through to the final. So we know that they’re a good team. Despite that, they’ve changed some of the players and coaches now. We know that they have been playing well in the local league. And then, they’ve got the addition of the foreign players that they have changed coming into this year,” stated the MCFC head coach.

The match will kick off at 4:45 PM IST and will be shown LIVE on Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 2 HD channels and will be streamed LIVE on Sony LIV.