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HEARD ON THE STANDS: Mumbai FC gears up for the upcoming season, the Samurai way

MUMBAI FOOTBALL CLUB have quietly begun their preparations for the upcoming I-League 2015-16 season as many of their players  have come back from their loan spells at ISL franchises and efforts to sign new players are in full swing.

The club, based at the historic Cooperage Stadium, has been mostly a mid-table club since its inception, choosing to run their operations on stringent budgets. Their highest ever finish in the I-League is sixth. But this time, the club management want to change all that.

The Essel Group-owned club is en route to creating a formidable squad under the leadership of coach Khalid Jamil that can aspire to be among the top three in the league.

So far they have secured the services of veteran Steven Dias from Bharat FC, Darren Caldeira and Karan Swahney from Bengaluru FC, and Son Min-chol from Shillong Lajong and Eric Brown that has added significant depth and experience to their team. 

Some of their most important players from last season, including Ashutosh Mehta, Mohammed Rafi and Jayesh Rane who have had successful spells at the ISL, also look set to return to their old club for the rest of the season.

But in a major transfer market coup, Mumbai FC have nearly convinced two experienced midfielders from Pune FC, left without a club due to the closure of the Red Lizards' first team, to join them. These two players are Arata Izumi and Anas Edathodika.

To add to all this, a new Japanese striker is believed to be on trial at the club. The management is keeping his name hushed up.

So if everything goes according to plan, Mumbai FC will display an unmistakable Japanese flavour as four of their players, including Taisuke, would have spent a significant part of their careers in that country.

Mumbai FC fans, who have been patient for nearly a decade through their club's trophyless phase in the national stage, finally seem to have something to be excited about ahead of the season.

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