Having missed out on a Playoffs spot for the last two seasons, a change in personnel brought about a successful turn of fortunes for U Mumba. Counting their current season, they have qualified for the Playoffs four times in their history, having gone all the way to the top-two on the three previous occasions they qualified. With such an enviable record behind them, captain Fazel Atrachali admitted that the pressure was well and truly on come the next stage of the league.
“Of course, there is a lot of pressure heading into the Playoffs,” said Atrachali. “There is a lot at stake for us. If we want to perform well, we cannot make many of the mistakes we made in the league stage.
“In that way, every Playoffs match is like playing for your life because every team knows that if they lose then they must go home.”
The fact that the longest losing streak for U Mumba this season was just their two back-to-back defeats at home would do the team’s confidence a world of good going forward and Atrachali cited the team’s attitude as a key reason for the same.
“All our players have a positive mindset. This has enabled us to come back strongly whenever we have suffered defeat,” said Atrachali.
U Mumba have the core of their lineup settled and have alternated successfully between Abhishek Singh and Darshan Kadian. That many of their players, including those from the bench, are firing gives U Mumba additional flexibility when it comes to rotation of their squad.
“Every single player in the squad is a key player for us,” said Atrachali. “All of our players have the potential to be match-winners on any given day once the pressure of the Playoffs is on.”
“We are taking each match as it comes and hence our key players change every game according to our opposition. It all comes down to our planning on the day,” Atrachali further explained.
With Atrachali featuring in the final of every VIVO Pro Kabaddi season he has played, U Mumba will hope his streak continues and they can go all the way to a second VIVO Pro Kabaddi title in Season 6.