March 7, 2013 5:02:04 am
In an attempt to establish a better connect with the city and make it more appealing to its fan base,Dodsal FC have renamed themselves as Mumbai Tigers.
The Dubai-based owners of the club,Dodsal Group,have registered the new name with the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) last week. They have already adopted the new name and will play I-League 2,which begins on March 9,as Mumbai Tigers. The club has also appointed Mukul Choudhari as its new CEO. Choudhari was earlier the head of business development and marketing for Mumbai FC and was the manager of Manchester United Soccer School in Mumbai before accepting the Dodsal offer.
The idea is to develop a connect with the society. We thought since the club is based in Mumbai,it was necessary to call ourselves that rather than using the name of the parent company. This is one of our many steps to indulge with the city, a club official said.
Choudhari played an instrumental role in developing a strong base for Mumbai FC when the club was launched six years ago by tying up with several schools and educational institutions in order to lay foundations for their youth side.
The club,owned by Dubai-based NRI Rajen Kilachand,was formed last year. With money not an issue and the fact that Kilachand is a close associate of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansoor,hopes are pinned on the Mumbai Tigers to breathe life into city’s football scene.
They are looking for a direct entry into the I-League and have approached the AIFF for the same. At the same time,they will also take part in the second division league,which begins on March 9. If we do not win in the second division and qualify for the I-League,then we are hoping to secure a direct berth into the top division. In return,we will make a commitment to the AIFF of developing world-class infrastructure, the official added.
The club’s director met AIFF president Praful Patel in New Delhi on Tuesday to seek details regarding the process of getting the team direct entry into the I-League. The federation has invited bids from interested clubs for the same. Mumbai Tigers director Prakash Shah added that the importance of infrastructure is paramount and the fact that it is being stressed here is heartening. Without Grassroots and proper infrastructure,football cannot develop. Look at top leagues across Europe. You need to be professional and invest judiciously, he said.
Even without a flashy foreign player,Tigers boast of a strong team. Led by former Pune FC midfielder Paresh Shivalkar,the team has several players who played for Mahindra United before the club was disbanded. The team is managed by former Air India coach Bimal Ghosh,who has unearthed many talented players over the last decade.
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