Bengaluru’s AFC Cup SF leaves Mumbai without key players ahead of ISL 3 | football | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Jan 20, 2017-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Bengaluru’s AFC Cup SF leaves Mumbai without key players ahead of ISL 3

football Updated: Sep 27, 2016 12:53 IST
Sean Sequeira
Sean Sequeira
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Sunil Chhetri, Amrinder Singh, Udanta Singh and Lalchhuanmawai Fanai will be the absentees as they continue their 2016 AFC Cup campaign with Bengaluru FC.(PTI)

With four days to go before the third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) kicks off, Mumbai City FC still bear the look of a makeshift team.

The league opener will be played between NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters FC on October 1 while Mumbai City will begin its campaign away to Pune City FC on October 3.

But before a ball is kicked, the team from the Maximum City is already set to be without four players for a vast spell of the campaign.

Sunil Chhetri, Amrinder Singh, Udanta Singh and Lalchhuanmawai Fanai will be the absentees as they continue their 2016 AFC Cup campaign with Bengaluru FC. They are scheduled to play the semi-final legs of the competition against Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim on September 28 and October 19.

The four players are set to miss five matches for Mumbai City as they will only join the squad on October 20. However, should Bengaluru make it to the final, the players will be unavailable for an additional four matches as they will only join Mumbai City after the final on November 5.

To add to Mumbai City’s woes, Udanta and Fanai have both picked up injuries while on duty with Bengaluru.

Speaking to HT over the phone, Mumbai City CEO Indranil Das Blah confirmed that Fanai is likely to miss the entire season while Udanta will be unavailable for at least a month. He also confirmed that another player had picked up an injury on Sunday, but kept the player’s name anonymous until medical staff could confirm the extent of his injury.

Blah said Mumbai City’s squad is complete at the moment but they are considering replacements for the injured players.

To add to the woes, midfielder Sony Norde has been included in Haiti’s preliminary squad for their 2017 Caribbean Cup qualification matches. Should he be called up for the matches against French Guyana on October 5 and St Kitts and Nevis on October 11, Norde will miss Mumbai City’s first three games of the season.

“Sony (Norde) adds so much value to the side that even if he misses two or three games, he is still important enough for us to have in the squad. We are hoping Sony doesn’t get picked, but if he does we have backup players,” Blah said about the inclusion of Norde in the squad.

With three goals and three assists in ISL 2015, Norde certainly contributed richly to Mumbai City’s campaign. Similarly, Chhetri was the team’s leading scorer last season with seven goals and one assist.

Blah confirmed that Chhetri, Norde and goalkeeper Amrinder are considered sureshot starters for Mumbai City. But with the three and more unavailable, Mumbai City now has to put together a team of second choices for the opening matches.

Missing players

Bengaluru FC players will miss the following matches of Mumbai City FC:

As of now (five matches):

October 3 — FC Pune City (away)

October 7 — NorthEast United FC (home)

October 11 — Atletico de Kolkata (home)

October 14 — Kerala Blasters FC (away)

October 18 — Delhi Dynamos FC (away)

If Bengaluru FC reach the AFC Cup final, they will also miss:

October 21 — FC Goa (home)

October 25 — Atletico de Kolkata (away)

November 2 — Chennaiyin FC (away)

November 5 — NorthEast United FC (away)

If Sony Norde is called up to the Haiti squad, he will miss:

October 3 — FC Pune City (away)

October 7 — NorthEast United FC (home)

October 11—Atletico de Kolkata (home)

<