A new challenge begins for the Islanders. After a record-smashing last season, Mumbai City are geared up and ready to defend their League Winners’ Shield in the 2023-24 Indian Super League.
Des Buckingham and his side begin a new league campaign on the road against a new-look NorthEast United on Sunday, September 24 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium with action kicking off at 8pm.
The Islanders come into their league opener off the back of a mixed bag of results in the Durand Cup and the AFC Champions League and will been keen on beginning their ISL title defence in style. Speaking to the media ahead of the game, head coach Des Buckingham spoke about the new-look NorthEast United who come strongly into the league season. “It is going to be interesting because it is the first game of the season. We are going into the unknown a little bit since they are a team undergoing lot of change. In a short time so far, they have shown what they can do and we are expecting a tough challenge from them”, said Buckingham.
“All of us need to recognise that they (NEUFC) are a very different team from last year. With substantial changes to their arsenal and a semifinal finish in the Durand Cup, it is a strong statement of what they can achieve as a side in this season. We will not be taking them lightly. At the same time, we treat every single game on it’s merit – whether it is the season opener or game number 10,” added the Englishman.
Apuia, who accompanied Buckingham in the customary pre-match press conference, spoke about his growth in his time at Mumbai City and the responsibilities he bears in the squad ahead of the new season. “I used to play as a number 6. The coach (Des) asked me to play as a number 10. It’s a demanding position, to get into the right areas to get assists, score goals and help your team. It has been a great learning experience for me,” said the midfielder from Mizoram.
He added, “I am not the young Apuia anymore. I will try to be a leader. It is time for me to help the new, younger players in the side and help in taking the team in a positive direction to ensure we are in the best possible position to become champions again.”
Where To Watch
The game will kick off at 8:00 PM IST on the 24th of September 2023 and will be broadcasted on Sports 18 and Jio TV. For our global fans, you follow all the action LIVE on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.