I-League: Mumbai FC target top three finish

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Mumbai, Jan 4: Targeting a top three finish, Mumbai FC chief coach Santosh Kashyap said the new-look team will confidently overcome the challenges and play an attractive and attacking brand of football in the I-League season kicking off on January 7.

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"We want to finish in the top three this season. There are challenges to overcome with new settings. We will concentrate and achieve our objective," said Kashyap today.

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"You will see attacking and attractive football from Mumbai FC. Six years the team has played in one style (under former coach Khalid Jamil).

"The players have to now adapt to my style of play which will be attacking and effective. We will go for wins in all matches," said the former India international at the media conference.

He also said veteran midfielder Steven Dias will captain the squad and the fans will see a more effective dead-ball delivery from the former India player.

"I have given him some tips and you will see how dangerous Steven Dias is in dead-ball situations. We have also introduced GPS system to monitor the players' fitness," said Kashyap.

The club, that finished fifth last year, will open its campaign against Pune's DSK Shivajians in the Maharashtra Derby here on January 8.

"I personally want to win the I-League. I grew up here and want to play in Mumbai," said Dias who had played for eight years in this city with the now defunct Mahindra United.

New recruit, goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani, said, "the team is jelling well and we are looking forward to the new season."

The team will train in suburban Vile Parle but was encouraged to use the facilities at the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri, venue of this season's ISL matches, by Mumbai District Football Association's chairman, Aditya Thackeray.

Meanwhile, the team's deputy VP, Atul Badgamia, said he was not worried that this could end up as the last I-League season.

"I am not apprehensive as I feel the AIFF (All India Football Federation) and FIFA (world body) will support us. I am keeping my fingers crossed," he said.

This was in response to a query about AIFF officials' oft-quoted view that they wanted a united and longer top-level league from next season.

PTI

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