Mumbai: Dempo Sports Club takes on a revamped Mumbai FC in their opening I-League fixture at the Cooperage football ground here on Saturday.
A virtual player exodus in addition to the departure of coach David Booth and manager Henry Menezes has considerably weakened Mumbai FC, which started off well in the last season before going off the boil.
It has lost the services of Felix Aboagye, Abel Hammond, James Dissiramah, Kalia Kulothungan, Kalyan Chaubey, Selwyn Fernandes, Riston Rodrigues and Kuttymani. The players who have stayed back — forward Alex Ambrose, midfielders Subhash Chakraborty and Noel Wilson and full back Anas Edatodika — would have to carry the extra burden in the season to keep the club afloat. It has also signed Japanese striker Kayne Vincent.
Dempo, with an outstanding record of having won the league title thrice in the last five seasons would be eager to start off with a bang against the home team. The visitors have a solid deep defence spearheaded by the confident and consistent Mahesh Gawli, a fine set of medios that includes Climax Lawrence and Roberto Silva and effective goal-poachers in Ranti Martins and Indian striker Sunil Chetri, who has recovered from his ankle injury.
Meanwhile, the Goa Football Association (GFA) has postponed the first round match between Salgaocar Sports Club and Viva Kerala which was to be played on Saturday at Vasco due to incessant rains.
Heavy downpour had rendered the ground unplayable, it was announced on Friday.
Other fixture: Pune FC vs East Bengal.