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High on confidence, Mumbai FC Head Coach, Santosh Kashyap is determined for a top 3 finish this season in the I-League which is scheduled to commence from January 7, 2017. Mumbai FC, the lone club for the city participating in the National competition, open their campaign against DSK Shivajians from Pune in the a?Maha Derbya, here, at the Cooperage ground on Sunday, January 8.A

a?I have full faith in my players and I am confident that we will finish among the top three teams. We are a new young side and I promise that we will play attacking, attractive football and our strategy is to take one match at a time,a? said Kashyap a former junior international, at a meet and greet session with media persons on Wednesday evening.

Present on the occasion was Aditya Thackeray, Chairman, Mumbai District Football Association, Sagar Sule of Paywin, the official sponsor, Dr. S. Narayani from Fortis, Mulund, Healthcare Partner and Irfan Khan from Jaffer Bhaias Delhi Darbar, the Hospitality Partner.

Mumbai FC Vice-President, Atul Badgamia said a?We are really excited about the upcoming season. We have raised our hopes and vision. There is an air of optimism around the club with new coach Santosh Kashyap joining us. Our fans are getting louder and growing in numbers season by season and we will do well.a?

The occasion was also used to announce the launch of the Mumbai Football Academy, a collaboration between the Brihanmumbai Kreeda Ani Lalitkala Paratishthan (BKLP), which will be conducted by Mumbai FC at the Andheri Sports Complex, Mumbaias Football Arena.

Aditya Thackeray, speaking on behalf of BKLP said, a?Wish we had more grounds like the Andheri Sports Complex. There is one coming up at Bandra opposite Rang Sharda, but we require more football grounds so that we can conduct grassroots level programmes and give our kids a chance to play the sport. Through this initiative (The Mumbai Football Academy) I want to create a base for Mumbai football.a?

Kashyap was excited about taking over as the Head Coach. a?This is a great opportunity for me. I have grown up playing football here in Mumbai and I now have a big responsibility to shape the fortunes the Mumbai club. There are big challenges and I have to see how to overcome these challenges and achieve our objective,a? said Kashyap, who took over the reins of the club from Khalid Jamil.

The coach also mentioned that seasoned midfielder and dead-ball specialist Steven Dias will wear the armband and will lead a bunch of talented players, which Aincludes new recruits goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani (from Dempo SC), medio Thoi Singh (Bengaluru FC) Victorino Fernandes, Pratesh Shirodkar (both Sporting Clube de Goa ) and Raegan Singh (Salgaocar SC).

The former midfield general Kashyap, who had represented Maharashtra and Mahindra United with distinction and had shown great flair and consistency from dead-ball situations stated that Dias now would be more effective with the dead-ball. a?When Steven was a member of the Mahindra United, I had shared some useful tips. But now under my guidance and I have further honed his skills and you will see how dangerous he (Steven) is in dead-ball situations.a?

Steven admitted that he would personally like to win the I-League. I grew up here in Mumbai and always wanted to ply my trade in Mumbai,” said Dias who had won the I-League title with the now defunct Mahindra United in 2005.

New recruit, goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani said, “the team is training hard and we are showing good understanding and all are charged up to do well in the new season.”

The Squad:

1)AAAAAAHitesh Sharma – Midfielder

2)AAAAAAClyde Fernandes – Defender

3)AAAAAAKaran Sawhney – Forward

4)AAAAAAChinta Chandrashekhar – Defender

5)AAAAAANikhil Kadam – Midfielder

6)AAAAAASiam Hangal – – Midfielder

7)AAAAAAShalum Pires – Defender

8)AAAAAAPratesh Shirodkar – Midfielder

9)AAAAAALalchhawnkima –

10)AAAVictorino Fernandes – Forward

11)AAAShilton D SilvaA- Midfielder

12)AAAAllan Dias – Defender

13)AAAFaruk Chaudhary – Forward

14)AAALaxmikant Kattimani – Goalkeeper

15)AAAPratik ChaudhariA- Defender

16)AAASteven DiasAa Midfielder (Captain)

17)AAAThoi SinghA- Midfielder

18)AAAMunmun Singh a Defender

19)AAAKunal Sawant – Goalkeeper

20)AAARaegan Singh a Defender

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