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The Mumbai FC coach was impressed with the showing of his new talented Afghan recruits, believes he may have a great strike force at hand

Mumbai FC were left grateful to Climax Lawrence, as the former Indian international’s last minute goal ensured that the team with ten-men on the pitch for the majority of the match, came back to salvage a point against a profligate opposition in Bengaluru FC.

Khalid Jamil, coach of Mumbai FC felt that his team had done enough to deserve the draw besides pointing out the impact that their new Afghan signings, namely Ahmad Arash Hatifie and Hashmatullah Barikzai, might have on future matches they play.  

Explaining his side’s approach to the game against Bengaluru, Jamil elucidated, “I’m very happy. We came here to play and we did start very well. I told my players to try to settle down early by making simple and quick passes. However that didn’t work out as we got a red card and the game turned against us a bit. We were mentally prepared as we had our two new Afghan recruits in our team. It gave a great boost and our morale increased. If they hadn’t signed on, it would’ve been a major problem.”

Asked about his opinion on referee Pranjal Banerjee and the decision he made to send Ashutosh Mehta to the dressing room in the 36th minute, he said, “I don’t want to talk anything about the referee as the game is over. I don’t like to talk about anyone else as I only talk about my team and my players. That’s it.

“I was too far away from the incident and didn’t check. I don’t know what happened exactly as I didn’t pay attention,” was his opinion on the series of incidents involving Nidhin Lal and Bengaluru's Robin Singh where the former allegedly feigned an injury each time the latter would come close.

On being quizzed his opinion on his new Afghan medio Hatifie, Jamil expounded, “He is an intelligent boy and is good. He was playing in the United States before arriving here. He was unwell for about two days but he controlled the game and played with a good temperament. He was dictating the tempo of our play and formed a very good partnership with Climax (Lawrence) for the team. I'm sure he will play better in the future matches.”

Hashmatullah Barikzai, another Afghan recruit by Mumbai FC, opened his account for the club by scoring his side’s first goal and when asked if, on the versatile Haroon Amiri’s return, the trio of Sanjdar Ahmadi, Barikzai and Haroon Amiri would form a considerably potent striking force, Jamil explained he was hopeful of the same.

“Haroon should be back in the next game. There will be a definitive difference. We’ll see in the next game but he (Barikzai) is definitely a good player. It’s good he got the first goal. The Afghans haven’t yet settled in as it takes time and the most important point as we know, is that you have to settle. We can’t expect them to gel directly. It’s more than enough with what they’ve managed to do today. It takes 10-to-15 matches to settle and also they’re enjoying their game. No complaints and that’s more than enough. They have a hunger to play and that’s more than enough.

“They came just a few days ago. They had two practice sessions. I told our recruitment personnel that there were these two who I’d like to sign. That’s it.”  

The gaffer concluded by hinting that he’d like to play at Mumbai with a lot of crowd support, suggesting that they are already playing away from home in Pune.  

“I consider our team to have played all our matches away. When, we play at our home, the Cooperage, that’s when I’ll consider us the home team.”   

 

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