I-League: Mumbai FC takes on DSK Shivajians

"Ours is a good side, a mix of youngsters and experienced players. I am excited to be leading this bunch," said the Mumbai FC skipper Steven Dias.

MFC coach Santosh Kashyap (second from left) greets his DSK Shivajians counterpart Dave Rogers, flanked by captains Steven Dias (Mumbai) and Sumit Passi (DSK).

Steven Dias, wearing the captain’s armband for a new-look Mumbai Football Club in the I-League 2017 home game against DSK Shivajians, will continue in his regular position on the wings, but with more responsibility than floating the ball into the goalmouth. He is expected to create moves, inspire teammates and implement team plans devised by the coaching staff.

Dias, playing in his seventh I-League season after stints with Bharat FC, Rangadjied FC and Churchill Brothers in the recent past, is looking ahead to the opportunity. “Ours is a good side, a mix of youngsters and experienced players. I am excited to be leading this bunch,” said the India international, into his second season with MFC and first season as skipper.

The entry of Santosh Kashyap as chief coach changed Dias’ profile in the squad. Both worked together earlier at Mahindra United. “I love to play attacking football and so does the coach,” said the forward, who has the task of dealing with setpieces — free-kicks and corner kicks, besides using big-match experience in pulling the team ahead.

Pune-based DSK Shivajians is a formidable opposition under Englishman Dave Rogers, for whom Sunday night’s tie at the Cooperage stadium, is a debut game. Kashyap, aware of the quality of the opponent, said: “DSK is a strong team. We play attacking football, so fans can expect an entertaining match.”

Kashyap will also be making his coaching debut with MFC, which, last season, was under Khalid Jamil.

“Jamil did a great job with the team till last year when the main focus was to avoid relegation. The team management wanted to go a step further and my aim is take the team into the top three,” said the home team coach.

Rogers elaborated on his expectations from the squad. “I am not afraid to field young players, those who don't give up. I believe in attacking football, in a team where the players can play without fear.”

Cooperage fans may get to see the likes of Jerry Lalrinzuala, Holicharan Narzary, Sumeet Passi and Milan Singh — a few exciting names in DSK.

Spaniard Juan Querro, North Korean Kim Song Young, Serbian Sasha Kolunija, Ireland’s Shane McFaul are the foreigners in the visiting team's ranks. MFC is in the process of identifying foreign players, and there are none in the line-up for Sunday’s tie. With the likes of Thoi Singh, Pratik Chaudhari, Reagan Singh, Laxmikant Kattimani and Kashyap, Mumbai has the quality to get the job done.

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