ISL: Captain Mourtada Fall aims to inspire young Indian talent as Mumbai City FC kick-off title defence against FC Goa
Defending champions Mumbai City will look to make a strong start to their campaign in the ongoing season of the Indian Super League. The team has released a host of players, including their coach Sergio Lobera, but will look to prove a case with a revamped squad when they take on this year's Durand Cup winners at Fatorda Stadium in Margao, Goa on Monday evening.
Ahead of the clash, Mumbai captain Mourtada Fall said he aims to lead the side from the front, which he believes will inspire the youngsters to ace their performance. He also backed the Indian players in the squad, with whom he will be sharing the defence line.
"As captain, I will have more responsibility. I will look to help the young players as captain with my experience in the world, and will continue to try and help the team pick the win," the Senegalese footballer said at the virtual media meet organised by the club on Saturday afternoon.
Sharing his thoughts on the rivalry against FC Goa, whom they met in the semi-finals of the previous edition, Fall said it is an "important" fixture but asserted that the focus is not on a particular opponent. "It's an important game, just like every game. We have to start strong in the beginning of the season. We take every team seriously, in the same way," the 33-year-old defender explained.
Des Buckingham's ISL debut
Meanwhile, Des Buckingham, the head coach of Mumbai will look to start his maiden journey in ISL on a rousing note, something which the English manager is very "excited" about. The 36-year-old, who became the youngest head coach in the history of the A-League during the 2016–17 season, is ready for the challenge and looks to utilise his experience to help the team prosper in the competition.
"This is my 19th season of coaching. First time in India, but I have been fortunate to work and learn from various people all around the world, and learn difficult cultures and leagues. This is a new one for me, and I am looking forward to it," said Buckingham, who also was part of the meet.
Giving the fans an insight into the team's preparation, the English manager said "80 percent" focus has been on them rather than the opponent. He also mentioned that watching matches from the previous season was a part of their preparation.
"Our main focus is on ourselves. We have spent 80 percent of our work on our team, our playing staff, and how we go on doing what we want to do. While also making sure we are prepared in a way that we are ready for what we can expect from FC Goa," said Buckingham.