How Borges & Co are keeping fit for football in times of quarantine

Borges is working on strength, core enhancement for injury prevention and plyometric exercises to improve power. He is following a regimen devised by MCFC’s Head of Rehabilitation and Medical Services, Dr. Sandeep Kurale.

Rowlin Borges during Mumbai City FC's training session.   -  Mumbai City FC

Rowlin Borges is a tireless box-to-box midfielder, well-known for his endurance on the pitch and versatility as a defensive midfielder ready for a shot at target. The imposing India international is back home in Nuvem (Goa), trying to maintain a level of fitness during the voluntary isolation, as the nation comes to grip with the coronavirus outbreak.

Players usually assemble for the ISL pre-season at a fixed date after their India commitments are done with, but sporting action has paused and measures are in place to prevent collective assembly of people.

In the period of self-isolation, Borges, 27, is following a fitness regimen devised by MCFC’s Head of Rehabilitation & Medical Services Dr Sandeep Kurale. “I'm in great physical condition but know I can get better. The next season is still some time away. I'm trying to maintain my fitness levels. We're doing our best to stay indoors without compromising on our fitness routines,” the midfielder said.

Borges is working on strength, core enhancement for injury prevention and plyometric exercises to improve power. He was rated as one of the two fittest players (besides midfielder Bipin Singh) in MCFC last season, according to Dr Kurale.

The India international who was part of the first team for the AFC Cup in UAE, known for his positioning and strength to withstand physical play, made 15 league appearances for the Mumbai franchise, taking charge in the midfield after playmaker Paolo Machado got injured.

The purpose behind this fitness advisory to all players on contract by Dr Kurale, followed by feedback via videos and periodic readings, is to keep them at a level wherein the coaching and support staff next season will have fitness parameters of each player ready for screening and preparations. MCFC is yet to announce a new coach after parting ways with Jorge Costa. “When a new set of people come in, they know certain things have been followed in the off-season. It is not too difficult for them (coaching and support staff) to implement the tactics.”

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He added: “Team coach or strength/conditioning coach will ask for certain data from the previous year. They will check the aerobic conditioning and compare it with the parameters they have in mind. Before starting the off-season, the players do the MAS (Maximum Aerobic Speed) test, involving runs of 60m up and down the ground continuously for five minutes and the distance covered is calculated. This is the basic aerobics data we share,” Dr Kurali said.

Borges from Nuvem and other players elsewhere relay the readings periodically. “We send the players videos and email about the specific data they should record and update wherever they are in off-season. From the readings, we know exactly if a player is able to reach the required fitness level at the pre-season. Two other aspects we focus on is injury prevention and bodyweight. Players are told what foods to avoid when eating home-cooked food after long stretches away from home during the league.”

Changes at the top

Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group (CFG) has picked up a majority stake in Mumbai City FC and has set up the CFG-India to oversee football operations in India. The Abu Dhabi group owns Manchester City FC in the Premier League. A change in MCFC team management is expected to be announced in the near future.

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