Focus on Mumbai City's Rowllin Borges ahead of new ISL season

Mumbai City FC had signed midfielder Rowllin Borges from fellow Indian Super League (ISL) club Northeast United in June this year.

Rowllin Borges during his first training session with Mumbai City FC in September.   -  Twitter (@RowllinB)

Soft-spoken Rowllin Borges is a dominant figure on the football pitch. He likes to make his intent loud and clear in the midfield. Mumbai City FC’s (MCFC) latest acquisition for ISL season six is clear about pitch priorities even as he adapts to roles under different coaches.

“I like to play box-to-box, helping the defence and attack, scoring a few goals if possible,” said Indian international midfielder Rowllin.

He joined the MCFC pre-season training under Portuguese coach Jorge Costa at the Navi Mumbai Sports Club ground, Vashi, after missing out on India duty under Croatian Igor Stimac. Two back-to-back yellow cards collected in previous games denied Borges the chance to be part of the national team preparing for the World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh in Kolkata.

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Borges is one of the heavyweight acquisitions of MCFC this season, as Costa attempts to better last season's showing during his second year as chief coach.

“I am ready to play any role the coach wants from me, as defensive midfielder or attacking midfielder,” added the Mumbai City FC player. His role for Northeast United FC (NEUFC), right up to the ISL play-offs last season, earned him rave notices.

The strapping Goan has played for Sporting Club de Goa, NEUFC and East Bengal in club football before the MCFC move and has been a regular with the national squad since his international debut under previous India coach Stephen Constantine. He played under Dutchman Eelco Schattorie last ISL season and emerged as an influential player for his side as NEUFC made the semis for the first time.

Asked to compare the different approaches, if any, between the two India coaches, he said: “Stimac wants us to play the ball more. It was direct football under Constantine. The coach (Constantine) guided us on the pitch and off it. I  always remember his advise about never to be satisfied what you achieve and always try to get better each day.”

The midfielder played in the AFC Asian Cup in UAE under Constantine. He was in the Stimac-coached squad which drew 0-0 against Qatar in a World Cup qualifier at Doha.

“Taking a point off the Asian champions (Qatar) is the best result Indian football managed,” pointed out Borges, contracted with MCFC for three seasons. “I am proud of Team India. Playing for the nation is a heady feeling, you don’t need extra motivation."

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