Updated on: Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 06:08 PM IST

Bio-bubbles can work to our advantage: New Mumbai City FC coach Des Buckingham

Des Buckingham is ready to fill in the shoes of his predecessor Sergio Lobera
New Mumbai City FC coach Des Buckingham |

New Mumbai City FC coach Des Buckingham |


Sports-induced bio-bubbles have been taking a toll on players since the onset of the Covid pandemic. Players have been speaking out about the negative physical and mental impact these bio-bubbles are causing.

New Mumbai City FC coach Des Buckingham, in his first (virtual) meet with the media ahead of the Indian Super League (ISL) season, said that while bio-bubbles are not an ideal situation, it can have a positive effect too.

The eighth season of the ISL, which begins this Friday, will be held in a bio-bubble in Goa.

Replying to a question posed by Free Press Journal on how bio-bubbles affect a team, Buckingham said that since the duration of the ISL is comparatively shorter, bio-bubbles may actually help the team.

“In an ideal world, everyone would be happy to be back with their families. But we’re not in a normal world right now. We’re in Goa, we’re in a bubble. What this bio-bubble does is it gives us coaches a lot of time to spend with the players. It’s a very close environment. It gives us a lot of off-field time with the players.

“To properly develop players, you need to spend a lot of time with them and this bubble definitely gives us the advantage of doing that,” Buckingham said.

The 36-year-old Buckingham, who has joined from Australia’s A-League’s Melbourne City FC (he was the assistant manager), has quite huge boots to fill in at Mumbai City FC. His predecessor Sergio Lobera, in just one season with the Islanders, won the club their maiden ISL winner’s shield as well as the title.

Melbourne City FC is also part of the City Football Group (CFG), which owns the controlling stake in Mumbai City FC.

When asked if he will look to play a different brand of football than Lobera’s team, Buckingam said he isn’t looking to change the team’s philosophy.

“Sergio is an excellent coach. Rather than change his philosophy, I hope to add to it. Since we’re part of the CFG family, I’ve been talking to him since December last year, exchanging ideas and notes. I’ve spoken to him as recently as last week. So yes, the approach will be similar,” Buckingham said.

"In terms of the playing style, I watched all of the games last year, and it was an exciting brand of attacking football from Sergio and his team," he added.

Mumbai City FC have a relatively young squad this time around. Quite a number of players from last season’s triumphant team have left, but Mumbai have got young, promising replacements.

Working with young players is Buckingham’s strong suit, having coached the New Zealand U-20 and U-23 team in the past.

"I have got a lot of experience in working with youth. I was excited to watch the U-23 players we have at the club go and perform in the U-23 championship (U-23 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers),” Buckingham said.


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Published on: Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 06:08 PM IST