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Ready to put best foot forward at Indian Super League: Czech soccer star

Mumbai, Oct.8 (ANI): Mumbai City Football Club (FC) defender Pavel Cmovs, has said his team is well-prepared and confident to put up a good show at the Indian Super League (ISL) beginning on October 12.

The Mumbai FC team played a friendly match with the football club of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in Mumbai on Tuesday, winning the match 2-1.

Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor, who is also the co-owner of Mumbai City FC, was also present to watch the friendly match.

The players said they are hopeful the ISL will raise the bar of football in the country.

“I hope we are well prepared. We trained a lot of things last week. We win all our games, we scored many goals. I see many positive things. So I really trust we are well prepared. I hope we are gonna take points from Kolkata on Sunday,” said 24-year-old Cmovs, who has represented the Czech Republic at every youth category from under-17 to under-21.

Meanwhile, another defender of the team, Sayed Rahim Nabi, said they are getting a lot of opportunities to learn several techniques by playing alongside the foreign players.

“We were fans of the big players with whom we are playing now. We used to see them on television. Now, we share room with them and play matches. We are getting good support. Indian football will progress. We will play along with five to six foreign players. This will help raise the level of the game,” said Nabi.

Nabi was crowned AIFF (All India Football Federation) player of the year in 2012 and also FPAI’s (Football Players Association of India) Indian player of the year in 2012.

Meanwhile, another player of Mumbai City FC, Tiago Manuel Fernandes Ribeiro (22), said it’s altogether a different experience to play in India but they are enjoying every bit of it.

“For me it was very difficult. I am from here Switzerland. It’s only cold and not very hot. It was difficult but every day is best for me and I think for the other players it’s the same,” said Ribeiro of Switzerland.

Bankrolled by Reliance Industries, controlled by the country’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, Rupert Murdoch’s Star India and sports management group IMG, the league having franchises based out of Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune with celebrity owners is scheduled to run from October 12 to December 20.

A total of 49 foreign players were drafted during the session for the eight-franchise league. Seven players have been directly recruited by the teams.

The trophy for the inaugural Indian Super League soccer season was unveiled in Mumbai on October 05.

Each team will play each other home and away with the top four teams going into semi-final play-offs before the final on December 20.

The opening match of the season on October 12 will see Atletico de Kolkata host Mumbai City FC. (ANI)