I-League: Mumbai FC hopes to return to winning ways

Mumbai FC head coach Santosh Kashyap believes that the home conditions will help his team play for a win against Aizawl in a game that is expected to be exciting.

Action from the Mumbai FC vs Bengaluru FC match. Despite the loss, the Mumbai coach is confident of doing well against Aizawl.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Mumbai FC is confident of returning to winning form after the heavy defeat against defending I-League champion Bengaluru FC ahead of its fourth round match against Aizawl FC at the Cooperage ground here on Sunday.

Head coach Santosh Kashyap believes that the home conditions will help his team, standing fifth on the table, play for a win against fourth-placed Aizawl in a game that is expected to be exciting.

“We are a young side, who are willing to accept any challenge. After the defeat in the last match against Bengaluru FC in an away fixture earlier this week, we want to come back stronger and are confident of playing for a win and the home conditions would certainly favour us,” said Kashyap.

Speaking about the defeat in Bengaluru, Kashyap admitted that the side lost to a better side. “To be very honest, we were up against a very strong side, who was well balanced in every department and also good quality players. We tried our best to match them and gave our best efforts, especially in the first half, but after we conceded a soft goal on the stroke of half-time it became very difficult for us to cope with them,” a modest Kashyap stated.

Kashyap mentioned that his players have taken that defeat in their stride and are looking forward to the matches ahead. “It was one bad day. We have forgotten about the last game and are now raring to go against Aizawl FC.”

“This team (Aizawl FC) is a good team who are enjoying good run and are unbeaten in the last three games. Like all north-eastern outfits, who always come out fighting, they too like to play and open attacking game and we have to play better than them and go for a win,” Kashyap admitted.

Kashyap also mentioned that Mumbai has signed two foreign players, who will be available for the game against Aizawl, which is being coached by Mumbai FC’s former coach Khalid Jamil.

“We have completed the signing of Densill Theobald, a midfielder from Trinidad and Tobago and Robson Santana (Robinho) an attacking midfielder from Brazil. I will include them, which would strengthen the attack,” the coach stated.

Central defender Lalchawnkima who was injured in the last match is ruled out and Chinta Rao who had replaced him is likely to retain his position in the side for the game.

Meanwhile, Jamil said he was happy to be back in Mumbai and would like to get on top of the home team, who he described as a very good team.

“We would like to play in a positive manner. Mumbai FC is a very good side although they lost to Bengaluru FC. We are not doing anything special but we would like to be on top.”

Trinidadian Densill, who comes with abundant experience, is no stranger to the I-League and is familiar to the tactics of Mumbai coach Kashyap as he played for the gaffer’s former club Royal Wahingdoh in 2014-15, appearing in 20 matches and scoring three goals in the process. The midfielder also plied his trade for Goan clubs Dempo, in 2010-11, and Sporting Club de Goa, in 2015-16.

His profile includes 97 caps for Trinidad and Tobago and he was part of the first XI that featured in the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany where he played all three group matches for his country.

Following the retirements of players like Dwight Yorke and Dennis Lawrence, Densill was given the responsibility to be the captain of ‘Soca Warriors.’