The 2023-24 season starts here!
Mumbai City kick off what will be an exciting year ahead with the Durand Cup. After a near perfect performance in the club’s first-ever appearance in Asia’s oldest football tournament, the Islanders finished runners up with the narrowest of margins. Des Buckingham’s side are back in the hunt in the 2023 edition of the Durand Cup – one of four competitions the Islanders will be participating across the next nine months.
The Islanders have set up base in Kolkata, one of the tournament’s host cities, following an 18-day pre-season camp in Bangkok, Thailand and are drawn in Group B alongside Mohammedan SC, Jamshedpur FC and Indian Navy FT. Mumbai City will begin their campaign against hosts and local favorites Mohammedan SC at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan on August 5 at 4:45 PM.
Mumbai City have faced Mohammedan SC only once previously – an encounter that will remain fresh in the memories of the Islanders’ faithful. Des Buckingham’s side took on the Black Panthers in the 2022 edition of the Durand Cup in the semifinal. After facing a grueling test for a large part of the evening, Bipin Singh snatched a stoppage time winner to break the hearts of the local supporters en route to the Durand Cup Final.
Addressing the media over a virtual press conference ahead of the Islanders’ 2023-24 season opener, Head Coach Des Buckingham expressed his delight at beginning another exciting season with Mumbai City – his third in charge. “It's another exciting season for us. This is my third year here at the club. Now it is about building upon what we did last year with the records that we broke, but more so the manner that we went about breaking those records and achieving what we did was the most pleasing thing for me. We've spent the last two and a half weeks trying to do that in Bangkok to prepare ourselves for what will be an exciting Durand Cup,” said Buckingham.
Lallianzuala Chhangte, who is coming off the back of a trailblazing 2022-23 season, joined Des Buckingham at the press conference earlier today. Having been named the ISL Hero of the League and AIFF’s Men’s Player of the Year, Chhangte cut a steadfast figure focused on the challenges ahead. “I think it was a good (last) season and and I will try to do my best to replicate my performances this year. I know it's going to take a lot of sweat, hard work, determination and dedication but with God's grace and with the help of my teammates, I think I can do even better individually and us as a team,” stated the 25-year old Mizo winger.
With an exciting 2023-24 season ahead, starting with the Durand Cup, Chhangte added, “We've got a good squad, and especially the players playing around me, they are very, very helpful and we've been gelling up very well. I can't be complacent or satisfied. I think I must push the boundaries to get even better and this is what I'm trying to do this season.”
Shifting his focus on the Islanders’ first opponents at the 2023 Durand Cup, Mohammedan SC, Des Buckingham said, “We played Mohammedan last year (in the Durand Cup), they gave us a very good game and it took us to the 89th minute where we scored the winner that put us through the to the Final. So we know that they're a good team.”
“They've changed the coach and they changed some of the players. We know that they've been playing local league (in Kolkata) and have been playing well. So we're expecting a very, very tough opponent. They're a very good I-League team and I'm sure one that will be challenging to try and come up into the ISL next year,” added Buckingham on the hosts and local favorites from Kolkata.
Where To Watch
The game will kick off at 4:45 PM IST on the 5th of August 2023 and will be broadcasted on Sony Sports 2, Sony LIV and Jio TV. For our global fans, you follow all the action LIVE on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.