Mandar Rao Dessai to reunite with Lobera at Mumbai City
- Mandar Rao Dessai is all set to pen a three-year deal with Mumbai City FC.
- The presence of Lobera at Mumbai City proved to be the defining factor in Dessai's move away from FC Goa.
FC Goa captain Mandar Rao Dessai has turned down a three-year contract extension at FC Goa and has decided to join Sergio Lobera at Mumbai City for the next season, Sportskeeda can confirm. The sturdy left-back is the highest capped player for a single franchise in the Indian Super League (ISL).
Dessai has played 97 games for FC Goa in the five ISL seasons, and has established himself as a dependable left-back over time under Lobera. He scored 6 goals and provided 11 assists during his 5-year stay at Goa. Dessai started out as a left-winger in his initial days for FC Goa, but eventually shifted to the current role of a resolute left-back.
The Goan defender began his career with the Dempo youth teams before making his senior team debut for the Eagles in 2013. After three seasons with Dempo (including two loan spells at FC Goa), Desai signed permanently with Goa.
Mandar Rao has five international caps for India. He made his debut in the Intercontinental Cup 2019 against Tajikistan, and has played as a make-shift left winger for the national side.
Dessai was close to penning a three-year contract extension with FC Goa, but changed his mind at the last minute to follow Sergio Lobera to Mumbai City, with both contracts very similar on paper. He is all set to sign a three-year deal with Mumbai City, keeping him at the CFG-owned franchise till the end of the 2022-23 season.
"Right now our technical team is not working from office, our team cannot execute this right now. Post lockdown, we will finalise all proceedings," said an anonymous FC Goa official. The move may be announced later due to the lockdown, but an agreement is very much in place.
Lobera has also brought Ahmed Jahouh with him to Mumbai City. Defender Mourtada Fall was also linked with Mumbai City FC and ATK, but the Gaurs have tabled a better offer for the Senegalese defender, and we could see him stay at FC Goa after all. FC Goa are also expected to lose Hugo Boumous to ATK.
The departure of several top FC Goa players to Mumbai City indicates that Lobera's departure from FC Goa was not due to a coach-dressing room feud, as some reports claimed earlier. However, Goa's core is now significantly weakened, and this could be detrimental to their AFC Champions League debut next season.
Dessai's departure will allow younger talents in Goa to get their chance at the left-back and left-winger positions. Reserve team youngsters like Sanson Pereira and Sarineo Fernandes are expected to make the step up and replace Mandar Rao eventually.Published 10 Apr 2020, 00:48 IST