In what will be received as a controversial decision, Mumbai City FC will field an all-Indian line-up in their upcoming AFC Champions League match against Iranian side Nassaji. No foreigners have travelled to Iran as part of the City contingent over the ‘volatile security situation’ advisory that has been issued by several countries.
There were concerns over safety when several other clubs, including Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia arrived in Iran to play Persepolis. Mumbai City FC haven’t disclosed the real reason behind their decision, which could be tactical, over security concerns or otherwise.
Mumbai City FC to field all-Indian line-up against Nassaji in Iran
As a result of the decision, the Islanders will be without Rostyn Griffiths and Tiri in defence, the talismanic Greg Stewart in attack, Yoell Van Nieff and Nasser El Khayati in midfield and their forward, Jorge Pereyra Diaz in the centre-forward position.
With both El Khayati and Greg Stewart ruled out, the Sky Blues might be strung out for creative players. They will have to depend on their Indian contingent to step up and take the game to Nassaji. But the sudden departure of manager Des Buckingham only further complicates the situation and stacks the odds against the ISL winners.
Mumbai haven’t been able to claim a single point in the AFC Champions League this season, and are set to be the last team to participate in the competition from India. The ISL will lose their only spot in the competition from 2024, meaning an opportunity in the AFC Cup might be up for grabs instead.