The ever-reliant midfield machinery of the Indian National Team, Rowllin Borges played a crucial role in Mumbai City’s victorious Indian Super League campaign last season. Forming an impeccable partnership with Ahmed Jahouh in Sergio Lobera’s double pivot system Borges played the role of a perfect engine. Football Monk got engaged in a candid chat with the 28 years old Goan as he shared his thoughts on the championship, national team performance, and many more.

Team effort the key to successful campaign

Speaking up on Mumbai City FC’s historic success this season, Rowllin attributed the team effort that was put into by everyone who played their role on the field. He reiterated, “team effort was the reason why we were so defensively compact alongside being lethal in the attack”. Mumbai registered thirteen victories en route to their shield and cup double which once again highlights the sheer dominance showed by the Islanders on the pitch.

Impact of life in a bio-bubble

Talking about the bio-bubble life in Goa and how it impacted the game, Rowllin mused, “It was a unique experience for all of us because even though we weren’t allowed to go out, we were together as a family.”

“We enjoyed playing table tennis, carrom and sometimes chess amongst ourselves and also played games over PlayStation”, he added. Borges thinks “the credit goes to the club authorities for giving us such a big lounge and for not letting us get bored.” He also mentioned that this sense of bonding while being in a bio-bubble helped them gel well both on and off the field and thus played a major role in keeping their spirits high.

Adapting to the new playing style

“Though it was a new style for many of us who were here last season, the coach (Sergio Lobera) made it clear what he expects from each one of us”, said Borges speaking on adapting to Lobera’s game plan. Asked about the difference between his game at North East and Mumbai Rowllin said, “Both the teams’ playing styles are similar. Trying to play the ball more keeping the possession and moving it around quickly. But I think I was given the freedom to play more attacking game here in Mumbai as I could play the ball forward with Jahouh and Boumous in support.”

“engaging in passing football under Sergio (Lobera) improved my attacking play. I had more time on the ball compared to last season when Jorge Costa was in charge”

-on his experience playing under Sergio Lobera

Putting that extra effort in attack 

Sergio Lobera, who was formerly in charge of the Barcelona youth team for a decade has done an excellent job in his last few years of stint in India. The Spaniard received a lot of appreciation with FC Goa, guiding them to the Indian Super Cup title in 2019 and following that up with the ISL shield in the following season. While at FC Goa Lobera was praised for the development that he brought in the Indian players and it seems the phenomenon continues in Mumbai.

As Rowllin hinted, “engaging in passing football under Sergio (Lobera) improved my attacking play. I had more time on the ball compared to last season when Jorge Costa was in charge”. He thinks, “when you play with so much time on the ball, it definitely boosts your confidence and you always aim to put in that extra effort in moving the ball forward”

Motivation for next season

Mumbai City became the first team in the history of the league when they won both the shield and the cup this season and it seems the mission is not accomplished yet for the Islanders brigade. As Rowllin made it clear that they are ever-eager and ready for the next season in order to defend both their titles. He told, “next season will be quite interesting as we’ve set the landmark pretty high”. ‘We’ve to maintain that level and are motivated to defend both the titles, which would be a historical moment for the club”, he added.

His future targets

Sharing his future plans Borges said, “I would like to play in the top level in a consistent way so that I can bring out my best version”. He further said “I also want to explore every aspect of the game, so that my manager trusts me and I can help my team more towards achieving the results that we want” before signing off.

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