Dabang Mumbai were the most active of all teams at the Coal India Ltd Hockey India League (HIL)auction as they added as many as 17 players, retaining just 3 from the previous season, where they finished 6th. 11 Indians and 6 foreigners were brought in by the Alphas as they look to improve their performance this season.With heavy investment in the auction and retention of 3 players, the Alphasare ready forthe 4thedition of the worlds biggest hockey league.Here are the 5 best signings by Dabang Mumbai this season:
#1 Danish Mujtaba
Age: 27 years
Base Price: US $15,500
Auction Price: US $54,000
Dabang Mumbai secured the services of the Indian midfielder Danish Mujtaba for US $54,000 for the upcoming edition of the CIL Hockey India League. Danish suffered a knee injury very early into his career which has forced the midfielder to be in and out of the national set-up over the years.
The game of hockey has come quite naturally to the 27-year old midfielder as his grandfather Mr. Idris Ahmed, his father Mr.Ghulam Mujtaba and his elder brother Mr. Shariq Mujtaba, all have played the game at the highest level.
Danish’s potential was recognised when he became the only male Indian player selected by the Australian government for an all-expense-paid 3-week training programme at the Australian Institute of Sport. Till date, he has played 133 matches for the Indian national team and has bagged 25 goals.
#2 Gurmail Singh
Age: 23 years
Base Price: US $12,000
Auction Price: US $81,000
Indian international Gurmail Singh was bought by Dabang Mumbai at the recently concluded CIL Hockey India League 2016 auction. The 23-year-old defender was the subject of a fierce bidding war between Dabang Mumbai, Jaypee Punjab Warriors and Delhi Waveriders before the Alphas won the race to his signature for a whopping US $81,000.
The Alphas struggled to keep the other teams at bay in the previous season, but with the inclusion of Gurmail, their backline has been given a boost. Gurmail, who plays for Punjab and Sind Bank in the domestic league, has represented India on 33 occasions and was the part of the team that won bronze at the 2012 Junior Asia Cup.
#3 Affan Yousuf
Age: 21 years
Base Price: US $17,000
Auction Price: US $53,000
India's rising star Affan Yousuf was selected by the Alphas to bolster their attacking options ahead of the 4th season of the CIL Hockey India League.
The youngster was adjudged ‘Player of the Tournament’ for his blistering performance at the 3rd Hockey India Senior Men National Championship in 2013 as well as the ‘Best Forward’ at the Obaidullah Gold Cup in 2012.
The talented 21-year-old made his senior international debut under coach Terry Walsh in the Australian's first assignment as national head coach during the 2014 Hockey World League Final in New Delhi. Last year, he represented Punjab-based HIL franchise Jaypee Punjab Warriors.
#4 Florian Fuchs
Age: 24 years
Base Price: US $20,000
Auction Price: US $96,000
The Alphas spent a massive $96,000 to acquire the services of the one of the most sought after players in the auction, German forward Florian Fuchs for the upcoming edition of the CIL Hockey India League (HIL).
With the introduction of the new rule where field goals will count as double, Fuchs is a vital cog in this Dabang Mumbai side. Despite being just 24 years old, he has achieved a lot at the international stage.
The amount shelled out by the Mumbai-based franchise for the German makes him the second most expensive player (the most expensive forward) at the league. Despite the massive outlay on him, Fuchs' pedigree will ensure he won't let the pressure to get to him.
#5 Johan Bjorkman
Age: 21 years
Base Price: US $5,000
Auction Price: US $10,000
Sweden international Johan Bjorkman is the only Swede in the league after being bought by Dabang Mumbai for a price of US $10,000 in the auction. In Sweden, the young hockey star plays for the winning Euro Hockey League team, THC Harvestehunder and has established himself as a lethal forward to deal with.
The 21-year old forward was adjudged ‘Best Player’ and ‘Top Scorer’ for two consecutive years at the 2013 and 2014 U-21 European Indoor Championships. He has also represented his nation on 49 occasions and has been an integral part of the team which clinched Gold at the Euro Hockey League 2014.
With field goals counted as 2 for this edition of the HIL, the forward proves to be a bargain buy for the Alphas as his proficieny in front of goal will be a useful asset for Dabang Mumbai.