To quote one of the most popular slogans in football history,
Ke Nako! or It’s Time!
This is it. This is where weeks of toil and grind of the pre-season comes together. The season opener!
Mumbai City FC kick off the 2019-20 season of the Hero ISL tomorrow on the road against Kerala Blasters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here in Kochi at 7.30pm.
The Islanders endured what was a long, toiling, yet fruitful pre-season for Jorge Costa’s troops, and come into this new season with a certain sense of optimism. While there have been some notable departures in the summer, Jorge Costa has assembled a new-look squad with more than a few fresh faces.
The ambitions are to have a season better than the last one but the first step towards that for Jorge Costa will be to avoid a similar start to last season. With the trip to Kochi being the first of two back-to-back away games, Kerala Blasters will pose a great test for the Islanders to overcome last season’s blues.
Focus: Kerala Blasters FC
Having played, and won, their first game against ATK 2-1 on the opening day of the league, Kerala Blasters come in to tomorrow’s fixture with league minutes under their belt. The Blasters underwent a massive overhaul in the summer with a new board, a new head coach and a host of new players now a part of the club.
Head coach Eelco Schattorie, who led NEUFC to their first semifinal appearance in five year, made the sensational switch to the backwaters of Kochi. Moving with him is his talsmanic striker Bart Ogbeche. The forward has been given captaincy duties by the Dutch head coach and grabbed a brace in the opening day win. Talk about hitting the ground running.
Not just Ogbeche, but the Blasters have made some impressive additions over the summer and are sure to be a strong contender for a top-4 finish in the Hero ISL table.
The Islanders have confirmed their 20-man traveling squad for their trip to Kochi, including a total of 10 new summer signings. New incomings like Rowllin Borges, Kevyn Angoué and Surchandra Singh among others are in line for their club debuts tomorrow.
Despite a win against ATK in their opening game, injury woes continue to be a headache for Eelco Schattorie and Kerala Blasters. Sandesh Jhingan’s knee injury in pre-season means he’s set to be on the sidelines for a long time. He’s joined in the treatment room by new signing Mario Arques and TP Rehenesh. Sahal Abdul Samad is in line for a start on Thursday after featuring as a late substitute in their opening fixture.
Where to watch it:
The game will kick off at 7.30pm IST and will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV for all viewers in India. For our global fans, you can follow all the action LIVE on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.
20 Oct: Kerala Blasters 2-1 ATK (Ogbeche 30’ P, 45’ McHugh 6’)
21 Oct: Bengaluru FC 0-0 NorthEast United FC
22 Oct: Jamshedpur FC 2-1 Odisha FC (Rana OG 30’, Castel 85’ Aridane 40’)
Fixtures coming up:
23 Oct: FC Goa vs Chennaiyin FC (Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa 7.30pm)
24 Oct: Kerala Blasters FC vs Mumbai City FC (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi 7.30pm)
25 Oct: ATK vs Hyderabad FC (VYBK, Kolkata 7.30pm)