June 19, 2021

ISL Final: Chance for most of Mumbai City FC players and coach Sergio Lobera to win their maiden title

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Only one player in the Islanders’ squad including their coach has ever won the ISL trophy…

Mumbai City FC, under the tutelage of Spanish coach Sergio Lobera, scripted history as they reached the final of the Indian Super League (ISL) for the very first time in the club’s history.

This season also saw the Islanders winning their first-ever silverware as Lobera’ side topped the league table to win the ISL League Winners Shield title and confirm a berth in the group stages of AFC Champions League (ACL) next year.

All these milestones have been achieved in a year which is the beginning of a new era at the club with the arrival of City Football Group (CFG). 

With the arrival of CFG, the club also saw a major revamp in their squad. It started by signing former FC Goa manager Sergio Lobera, a proven and successful name in Indian football.

They also roped in four proven foreign footballers, Mourtada Fall, Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh and Bartholomew Ogbeche who have been plying their trade in the country for quite a few years now. Some quality Indian players were also signed in order to build a strong and balanced roster of players. 

While there are several big names both Indian and foreigners in Lobera’s side, it is quite fascinating that only a single player in the Mumbai City squad has ever won the coveted ISL trophy.

Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Phurba Lachenpa, Nishit Shetty and Vikram Singh.

Amrinder Singh made his ISL debut in 2015 with ATK FC. In that season, the Kolkata-based club were knocked out of the competition in the play-offs after losing to Chennaiyin FC. Then in 2016 he joined Mumbai City and has remained at the club ever since.

Except for the India international, all the other goalkeepers are playing in the ISL for the first time in their career.

Defenders: Amey Ranawade, Valpuia, Mandar Rao Dessai, Mehtab Singh, Mohammad Rakip, Mourtada Fall, Tondonba Singh.

Amey Ranawade, Mandar Rao Dessai and Mourtada Fall followed Sergio Lobera from FC Goa to Mumbai this season. Before Mumbai City, Goa was the only club these three players had ever played in the ISL. Mandar, Fall and Ranawade have won the League Winners Shield but never the ISL title.

Mohammad Rakip made his ISL debut with Kerala Blasters last season before joining Mumbai City this year. Tondonba Singh was at Chennaiyin FC for the last two seasons before joining the Islanders this year and Valpuia is in his second season with the club. Mehtab Singh made his ISL debut with Mumbai this season.

Midfielders: Ahmed Jahouh, Bidyananda Singh, Bipin Singh, CY Goddard, Hernan Santana, Asif Khan, Pranjal Bhumij, Raynier Fernandes, Rowllin Borges, Jackichand Singh, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Vikram Pratap Singh.

Hernan Santana, Asif Khan, CY Goddard and Vikram Pratap Singh have made their ISL debuts this season with Mumbai City FC. Players like Valpuia, Bipin Singh, Pranjal Bhumij, Raynier Fernandes and Vignesh Dakshinamurthy have played at Mumbai throughout their ISL career. 

The only player to have won the ISL in the Mumbai City squad is Bidyananada Singh who did so with Atletico de Kolkata in 2016.

Rowllin Borges had joined Mumbai last season after spending three seasons at NorthEast United FC. Journeyman Jackichand Singh had previously played for four different clubs FC Pune City, Kerala Blasters, FC Goa and Jamshedpur but unfortunately, none of those clubs had ever won the ISL title. Ahmed Jahouh played the last three seasons at FC Goa before joining the Islanders this season.

Strikers: Bartholomew Ogbeche, Adam Le Fondre.

Bartholomew Ogbeche joined the club this season after spending the last two seasons at NorthEast United and Kerala Blasters. Adam Le Fondre made his ISL debut this season.

Coach: Sergio Lobera

Sergio Lobera was in charge of FC Goa in the last three seasons. In the first season, the Gaurs were ousted from the competition from the play-offs by eventual champions Chennaiyin FC. In the 2018-19 season, they lost the final against Bengaluru FC and last season Lobera was sacked from the club with three matches to go in the league stage. FC Goa were also ousted from the competition in the play-offs once again by Chennaiyin FC.