As football fever grips the country with the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 just a couple of days away, Indian Super League (ISL) team Mumbai City FC set off for a 33-day long pre-season camp in Spain early on Wednesday morning.
The last season's table toppers play a series of matches during their stay at the Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Hotel in Valencia that boasts of all the modern facilities a professional football club needs for its training.
Head coach Alexandre Guimaraes, along with their eight foreign recruits, will also arrive at the same time from different parts of the world to prepare along with their Indian colleagues. The Indian players have already undergone their medicals and a short conditioning camp in Pune.
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Guimaraes has his eyes set on the championship this year and aims to get all the players in top shape before the ISL begins in November. "It's going to be a long and tough season. I need to prepare the players with that in mind so that they can play at their best all the way till the end," the Costa Rican said.
"We are looking to play a lot of competitive matches and that too against some strong teams. The goal is to get a lot of match time during the camp and to come back and give a good account of ourselves, like we did last year," he added.
Mumbai City FC haven't signed any marquee player, having opted for a relatively young side, and are looking at their young guns to deliver. Their key retentions include former Brazil U-17 captain, Gerson Viera and Lucian Goian, arguably the best defender in the ISL last season.
The team flew to Dubai last season for their pre-season camp and returned unbeaten. They will look to repeat the feat this time too, just as they are keen on doing better than last year's semifinal finish.
"A month-long camp will give all the players enough time to gel on and off the pitch. Valencia is a great place to train and the facilities provided there will be top notch and the team will play strong teams which will be good to prepare for the upcoming season," Indranil Blah, CEO of Mumbai City FC said.
Mumbai City FC will take on Bengaluru FC away from home in their season opener on November 19 and will make their first home appearance against neighbours FC Goa on November 25.