Mumbai, Jan 4 (IANS) Mumbai FC’s coach Khalid Jamil believes the I-League football side will brush aside last year’s slump and will perform well in the forthcoming 2015-16 edition of the tournament, starting on January 9.
Mumbai will face Shillong Lajong FC in their opening match away on January 10 and then return home to play their next three games against East Bengal (January 17), Salgaocar (January 24) and Bengaluru FC (January 27).
Last season, Mumbai started with three straight defeats away from home and finished sixth in the league with 24 points from 20 matches.
“Last season we did not start well and lost three matches (all away from home). We played our away games better in the second half. This season I am hoping for a better start,” Jamil said here on Monday.
He confirmed that Japanese star Taisuke Matsugae will be the club’s on-field captain for the season.
“We have adequately replaced those players who have left us and they are also slightly better. I took a lot of time for the composition of the team. We have quality players,” he said.
Mumbai have signed Japanese-born Indian footballer Arata Izumi. The new recruit signed on December 31 and will spend the season on loan from Indian Super League (ISL) club Atletico de Kolkata.
He joined Mumbai FC after brief spells with East Bengal, Mahindra United and has spent most of his time playing for Pune FC in the I-League.
At Mumbai, Arata will reunite with his former teammates Steven Dias and N.P. Pradeep, who played together for Mahindra United in 2007-09.
Speaking on his team, veteran player Dias said, “I last played here for Mahindra United, then moved to Salgaocar. It’s good to be back in Mumbai. We have a very good and balanced team.”