Dempo Sports Club appear to carry too big an artillery for the comfort of the revamped Mumbai FC when the two clash in their opening I-League fixture at the Cooperage football ground on Saturday.
A virtual player exodus in addition to the departure of coach David Booth and manager Henry Menezes has considerably weakened Mumbai FC who started off well in the last season before going off the boil.
They have lost the services foreign players of the calibre of Felix Aboagye, Abel Hammond and James Dissiramah and Indian talents like Kalia Kulothungan, Kalyan Chaubey, Selwyn Fernandes, Riston Rodrigues and Kuttymani.
The players who have stayed back - forward Alex Ambrose, midfielders Subhash Chakraborty and Noel Wilson and full back Anas Edatodika - would have to carry the extra burden in the season to keep the club afloat. They have also signed Japanese striker Kayne Vincent.
New coach Khalid Jamil has a tough task in his hands in moulding the new-look team into a cohesive and capable unit and could not have asked for a more daunting opponent than the strong Dempo to start his stint in the League.
Dempo, with an outstanding record of having won the league title thrice in the last five seasons including back-to-back crowns in 2006-07 and 2007-09 - would be eager to start off with a bang against the home team.
The visitors have a solid deep defence spearheaded by the confident and consistent Mahesh Gawli, a fine set of medios that include Climax Lawrence and Roberto Silva and effective goal-poachers in Ranti Martins and Indian striker Sunil Chetri, who has recovered from his ankle injury.
Mumbai FC would have to play much above their potential to stop the marauding Dempo, the first Indian club to reach the AFC Cup semis, from puncturing their defence.
The Essel Group-owned club had a superb first season in 2008-09, finishing in the top half of the table, after gaining promotion so soon after its formation in 2007.
The local team would be happy to walk way with a point from their opening 2009-10 league clash, while Dempo would not be satisfied with anything but a victory that too by a handsome margin.