Pro Kabaddi League 2018: 5 reasons why U Mumba can win the title

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Pro Kabaddi League Season 6 is close on our heels as the thrilling kabaddi acition will kick off on October 7, 2018 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai, Tamil Nadu as the Chennai leg of the Pro Kabaddi League starts off the proceedings. Over the space of three months, twelve franchises will go head to head and compete for the chance to claim the coveted championship title. The grand finale of the Pro Kabaddi League 2018 will take place at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai, Maharashtra on January 5, 2019.

One franchise which will hope to make it to the finals will be U Mumba, as they could utilize the home mat advantage in the final stages of the competition. The team has won the championships back in the second season of the Pro Kabaddi League and have been consistently one of the best-performing franchises in the league over the years. Last season was a rare glitch in their history when they failed to qualify for the playoffs for just the second time in five seasons.

Going into the fresh season, U Mumba have had a lot of personnel changes to their roster losing their long time captain and Kabaddi stalwart Anup Kumar to the Jaipur Pink Panthers in this year's auction. However, they have managed to build a squad which could just surprise every team in the league with their mix of experience and youth across the board.

U Mumba made Fazel Atracheli the first crorepati in the history of the Pro Kabaddi League when they signed him for the amount of 1 Crores in the auction. They have added talents like Abolfazl Maghsoudlou, Rohit Baliyan, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Rohit Rana and Hadi Tajik to their squad which will play a key role in galvanizing the youngsters to lead a charge for the title this season.

We take a look at a few reasons that the U Mumba side could be triumphant in the sixth season of the Pro Kabaddi League.

#5 Abolfazl Maghsoudlou's raiding skillset

Abolfazl Maghsoudlou
Abolfazl Maghsoudlou did well for the Dabang Delhi KC side last season

U Mumba do not have any of the top Indian national team's raiders in their side this season, however, they have gone for the lanky raider from Iran, Abolfazl Maghsoudlou. The Iranian formed a formidable partnership with countryman Meraj Sheykh in the Dabang Delhi KC squad as he used his large frame and smooth skills on the mat to score points.

Abolfazl scored 91 raid points last season and will be expected to lead the charge for the U Mumba raiding unit along with the youngsters picked up by the franchise in the auction.

#2 Raiding unit full of young blood

Abhishek Singh
Abhishek Singh is touted to be one of the best young raiders in India

Abhishek Singh was signed by the U Mumba franchise for a huge price of Rs. 42.8 Lakhs at the Pro Kabaddi League 2018 auction. He has been marked as one of the most promising raiders on the Indian domestic circuit having gone for an amount higher than veterans like Anup Kumar and Manjeet Chillar.

Singh impressed for Uttar Pradesh in the Senior National Kabaddi Championship 2017-18 when he teamed up with Rahul Chaudhari as they reached the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Siddharth Sirish Desai is another young talent who will be a part of U Mumba's youthful raiding department this season. Along with the likes of Abolfazl, Rohit Baliyan and Vinod Kumar, the youngsters certainly provide U Mumba with a boost to take on the defenders in the league.

#3 Iranian coach Gholamreza Mazandarani

Gholamreza Mazandarani
Gholamreza Mazandarani coached the Iranian national side to glory in Asian Games 2018

U Mumba are the only franchise in the Pro Kabaddi League to have signed an overseas coach this season when they made Gholamreza Mazandarani their head coach.

The Iranian coach has led the national side to deliver incredible performances at events such as the Kabaddi Masters Dubai and the recently concluded Asian Games 2018. Iran turned heads when they defeated India and went on to win the gold medal for the first time at the Asian Games.

Mazandarani is a gutsy coach who doesn't shy away from experimentation which was displayed when he fielded a young side devoid of stars at the Kabaddi Masters Dubai and still reached the finals. His instincts will be key for the U Mumba side to launch a challenge for the title.

#4 Strong defence with a mix of experience and youth

Dharmaraj Cheralathan
Dharmaraj Cheralathan is a veteran of the sport

The U Mumba defence has been constructed with method this year by the management as they have picked just the right mix of experience and youth for the squad.

The signings of Fazel Atracheli, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, and Rohit Rana will add the necessary experience to the roster and enable youngsters like Surender Singh, Rajaguru Subramanian, and Adinath Sakharam Gavali to shine in their company.

#5 Fazel Atracheli's return to U Mumba

has been one of the best defenders in the Pro Kabaddi League

U Mumba signed star defender Fazel Atracheli for a whopping Rs. 1 crores at this year's auction and made him the cornerstone of their defence for the season. He had been a part of the U Mumba squad for Season 2 and 3, winning the title in Season 2 and consistently delivered strong performances.

His performance last season for the Gujarat Fortunegiants further strengthened his reputation in the league and U Mumba will heavily benefit from his inclusion in the squad. He has scored 152 tackle points in his PKL career and is one of the most deadly corner defenders in the league.

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Edited by Sundaresh Kumar
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