Mumbai City FC is a club that makes you better as a player: Goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa
Mumbai City FC have been big spenders in the transfer market over the last two years and they have reaped the rewards as they won the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) title and the League Winners’ Shield crown in 2020-21.
The Islanders also recorded the best performance by any club in the AFC Champions League as they secured two wins in the campaign.
But there is more to their success than just money spent on players according to goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa who feels players are given the opportunity to grow and develop at Mumbai City FC.
"This is one of the top clubs in India. Every goalkeeper who comes here, irrespective of their numbers, is good at what they do. Every day we have to give our best in the training sessions and finally, only one can be chosen, based on the coach’s plan,” Phurba told Sportskeeda.com in an interview.
"We have to train well every day to earn our place. This is a club where goalkeepers can improve because they all push each other to bring out the very best they can. I am where I am today because of my colleagues and the coaches who kept me grounded and helped me develop as a player,” he added.
Phurba has proved this as he has slowly improved to now stake a claim to be the first-choice goalkeeper for the Islanders this season. When he joined the club in 2020, he was deputy to Amrinder Singh and later to Mohammad Nawaz but Phurba has made the most of his chances and made a strong case for himself.
The 24-year-old had a solid Durand Cup campaign and is now looking ahead to the new season where he is favourite to be Des Buckingham’s go-to man in goal.
"It (Durand Cup) was a very good experience because we got to play a lot of matches as a team before the ISL. We've got to build relationships amongst ourselves and improve our fitness, all of which will come in handy in the ISL,” the Sikkim-born custodian said.
The former Shillong Lajong goalkeeper is focused on helping his team regain the Hero ISL title and the League Winners’ Shield after Mumbai City FC failed to make the semi-finals last year.
"As a team, we aspire to bring the ISL Shield and the trophy back to the club. But whilst trying to do that, we also want to keep our coach’s philosophy intact and implement his ideas to the best of our abilities during the matches,” he said.
Phurba also showered praise on head coach Buckingham and praised his man-management for keeping the players focused on the task ahead.
"This is his second year with the club. The experience has been pretty good. He is a very tactically sound coach. Every day he approaches each and every player individually and tries to get them on board with his ideas,” Phurba said.
"He also tries to make us better individually so that we can add to the group and I think all of that has been evident in the way we play,” added the goalkeeper.
Mumbai City FC begin their Hero ISL 2022-23 season with a tough away game against defending champions Hyderabad FC on October 9.