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Silvestre just the start, say Dodsal

Emirati chairman of Mumbai-based club predicts big things for Indian football

Gulf News

Dubai: Mohammad Omar, the Emirati chairman of Mumbai-based Dodsal FC, has told Gulf News that negotiations with former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre are just the start of the club’s heady ambitions.

Targeting Asian domination within five years and promotion to the I-League by 2013, Dodsal FC rocketed to prominence after finishing runners-up in India’s Durand Cup earlier this month.

Formed in May by Dubai-based conglomerate Dodsal Group, run by Indian business magnate Rajen Kilachand, the club are now aiming to climb through the divisions via the Mumbai League and I-League’s second tier.

Omar, 35, a renowned former UAE footballer who won the AFC Champions League with Al Ain in 2003 and lifted the Gulf Cup in 2007, has promised that these dreams will be fulfilled by the arrival of star players.

“Actually, we have three big names in negotiation with the club,” said Omar. “I’m quite shocked they’re interested to come to Dodsal.

“We opened conversations with Silvestre, but any deal is still to be decided. This will be confirmed in January when the I-League division two starts.”

Omar continued: “He’s [Silvestre] very interested. I talk to him every day and his family are ready to move. But we have to go back to the budget and study a lot of things before the transfer can be completed.”

“India will be one of the most important locations for football in the future,” added Omar. “You will remember my words in three years. It’s unbelievable. I was shocked by the passion of the fans and their will to do something big. So long as there is passion, we will succeed.”

Refusing to name the other two players linked to the club, Omar said: “You never know. If you get ready financially and make good results, people will come to you. There’s no need to go to them.

“I get phone calls from different players every day who want to join Dodsal and we’re not even in the first division yet.

“When you reach a certain age, you think differently. Players won’t join Dodsal for the history; they have come to make good money and this region can become the home of football. Players will be treated like top-class professionals in seven-star facilities.”

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