As the country gears up for another season of the Indian Super League (ISL), Republic TV spoke to Mumbai City FC's central midfielder Mohammed Rafique about his first season with the team and his experience after being a part of Kerala Blasters and ATK in previous seasons. Rafique said that the team is in really good spirits and is eyeing to go past the semis this season. He also said that Mumbai FC is one of the best clubs and it allows you the freedom to play your game without any pressure.
Mumbai City FC missed out on reaching the final after a heavy first-leg defeat to FC Goa in the previous season of ISL. However, after having former Portuguese footballer Jorge Costa as their coach, the team management looks forward to lifting the cup this year. Rafique, while speaking to Republic TV, said that:
"This is one of the best clubs. You can play your game here without any pressure. As a senior player, there is a motivation to help the youngsters flourish, which is really good for the team." The midfielder, who made his debut in the Indian colours back in 2016, also spoke about his stint with Kerala Blasters and ATK. He said, "The first season with ATK under coach Habas was really good because he has a lot of experience and in the second season with Kerala Blasters, I got to learn a lot. Mumbai's coach Jorge Costa, is again, experienced and also a Champions League winner and we get to learn a lot from him." Rafique also added that, "Youngsters are getting an opportunity to play for Mumbai City FC, which will give a great boost to take football up high in the country."
Mumbai City FC has been struggling to establish a strong fan base for themselves and have not been able to figure out an apt solution to attract more fans. The Islanders recently shifted out from DY Patil Stadium to Andheri sports complex - a smaller ground with a lesser seating capacity. However, one of the co-owners of the team is very happy about the move and explained that while they were not able to fill in the huge DY Patil Stadium with fans, they could at least manage to fill in 75% of their new ground and aimed to strengthen the fan community of the Islanders. Mumbai City FC is scheduled to play their first game of the season on October 24 against Kerala Blasters FC.