Mumbai City FC's COO Arunava Chaudhuri admits it was not perfect to go into the ISL international players' draft sans a coach
With the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) just over 50 days away, there are more question marks than answers for Mumbai City FC, one of the eight teams of the cash-rich franchise-based league.
Mumbai City FC's Director of Football Nishant Mehra (left) and COO Arunava Chaudhuri addressing the media yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
The city franchise are yet to finalise not just their marquee coach and marquee player, but also their home venue for the tournament that kicks-off on October 12.
All the other franchises, except Chennai who came on board a week ago to replace the Bangalore franchise, have already picked their coaches or assistant coaches and have benefited from their expertise in the player drafts.
Former England and Liverpool goalkeeper David James, who was revealed as the marquee player-cum-manager of the Kerala Blasters franchise recently, was a central figure for the South Indian outfit at yesterday's international players' draft process.
Jose Antonio Habas (Atletico de Kolkata coach), Franco Colomba (FC Pune City coach), Ricki Herbert (NorthEast United FC coach) and Harm van Veldhoven (Delhi Dynamos) were also instrumental in assisting their teams pick players in yesterday's draft.
The Goa franchise doesn't have a coach either but they have appointed chief coach of Dempo, Arthur Papas, as their assistant coach.
Arunava Chaudhuri, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Mumbai City FC admitted that it was not a perfect start for his team. "Of course, that's not perfect from our perspective.
But we had certain compulsions because of which we had to do this (delay the selection of the coach). The coach will have to work with whatever we provide," Chaudhuri told reporters yesterday.
The Mumbai team's Director of Football Nishant Mehra added: "We are in negotiations with coaches and hence cannot reveal names."
It was learnt that the Mumbai team were discussing the possibility of signing former Arsenal great Tony Adams as their marquee coach but the move did not have the backing of the ISL's organisers.
However, Chaudhuri was happy with the players the team had picked in yesterday's international draft and the domestic players' drafts (last month).
They picked Argentine Diego Nadaya (striker), Czechoslovakian Jan Stohanzl (midfielder), Spaniard Francisco Luque (midfielder), Czechoslovakian Pavel Cmovs (centre-back), Frenchman Johann Letzelter (wing-back), Portuguese Andre Pereira (goalkeeper), Greek Ilias Pollalis (centre-back) in the international players' draft.
"There were attacking positions that we wanted to fill. We strengthened certain defensive positions as well. We are happy with our selection. Of course, we want to pick one or two more but this is a draft," said Chaudhuri.