Mourtada Fall set to join Odisha FC ahead of the ISL 2023-24 season
A day after Mumbai City FC officially announced the departure of Mourtada Fall, news reports suggest the Senegalese defender is set to join Odisha FC ahead of the 2023-24 season.
The 35-year-old's contract with the Islanders is set to end on May 31 and Marcus Mergulhao of the Times of India reported that the Juggernauts have already acquired the services of the centre-back.
Once Odisha FC roped in former FC Goa and Mumbai City head coach Sergio Lobera, rumours started floating around that the Spaniard was eager to reunite with his old guards. Lenny Rodrigues and Ahmed Jahouh are also rumoured to be joining the Juggernauts.
However, the addition of Mourtada Fall could potentially be a huge boost for Odisha FC. After joining Mumbai City from FC Goa, Fall quickly became an influential figure at the back and won the ISL double - Shield and the title - in his first season at the club.
He made 19 appearances in his debut season for the Islanders and scored some important goals on the way to their historic achievement.
While under new gaffer Des Buckingham, Mumbai City only finished fifth in the 2021-22 season, they once again enjoyed a successful campaign a year later, winning the ISL League Winner's Shield and breaking several records in the process.
Overall, Fall made 68 appearances for the club in three years, scoring eight goals and assisting thrice.
How are Odisha FC shaping up for the upcoming season?
Once Sergio Lobera joined the Juggernauts, the expectations around Odisha FC's upcoming season went up a notch. The Spaniard is a proven entity in the Indian Super League and a serial winner, hence, very few would bet against him to replicate the success he previously had at FC Goa or Mumbai City FC.
The signing of Mourtada Fall, or the rumoured arrivals of Lenny Rodrigues and Ahmed Jahouh will be a huge boost for the Kalinga Warriors as it adds a lot of experience to their ranks. However, Odisha FC have also let go of their rising star Nandhakumar Sekar, and it could be a massive blow.
There are still a lot of missing pieces in the Odisha FC squad but for now, one thing is for certain - the arrival of Lobera and his old guards might give the Juggernauts the consistency that they have lacked for seasons.