We want to be the first Indian club to win a game at AFC Champions League, says Mumbai City's coach Des Buckingham
Mumbai City FC are set to make their debut in Asia's biggest club football competition, the 2022 AFC Champions League, when they take on Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab FC in their opening match on April 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), April 6 (IANS) Mumbai City FC are set to make their debut in Asia's biggest club football competition, the 2022 AFC Champions League, when they take on Saudi Arabia's Al Shabab FC in their opening match on April 8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Islanders are placed in Group B in the West Region alongside Al Jazira (UAE), Al Shabab (Saudi Arabia), and Air Force Club (Iraq).
Ahead of their match, Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham and vice-captain Mandar Rao Dessai spoke about a variety of topics including the team's ambition of creating history by becoming the first Indian club to win a game in the AFC Champions League.
"This is only the second time a club from India has competed at this level after FC Goa last year. They picked up three draws, so three points across the period, and they showed what Indian players and what Indian teams can do at this level. So for me, we want to try and do something no other Indian club has done before, which is to win a game at this competition and we take it from there," head coach Buckingham stated.
"We've got a very important game against an excellent team in two days. But for me, it would be trying to create our own relative success and history. And, that would be for me, trying to win a game at this level," he said.
Ahead of the AFC Champions League, Mumbai City FC have had a successful preparatory camp in Al Forsan in Abu Dhabi, UAE. They also played two friendly games against UAE Pro League side Al Ain FC and Second Division club Al Hilal United FC.
Speaking about the team's preparedness, Buckingham said, "Both the friendly games are going to serve a great purpose for us going into not just our first game, but for the six across the Champions League because as I said, we will be up against very good players and teams."
Meanwhile, vice-captain Mandar Rao Dessai expressed his excitement for the team's historic participation in the 2022 AFC Champions League.
"I think all the players are excited for this moment. We just want to start the campaign in a positive way, so that we can have good results in the competition," said Mandar.
"We know how the level will be, and the moment we reached Abu Dhabi, it was a fresh start for us. We only took positives from the ISL season. The mood has been really good, we are just waiting for the first game, so let's hope for a positive result," Mandar signed off.