Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 24 (ANI): Mumbai City FC defender Rostyn Griffiths said he didn't think twice when he was presented with the opportunity to extend his contract with the Islanders. The Australian signed a one-year contract extension with Mumbai City FC on Wednesday which will run till the end of the 2023-24 season.
Griffiths featured in 17 games for MCFC during the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season, contributing a goal and an assist. His presence at the heart of the backline was vital as the club went on to win the League Shield in dominant fashion. In his debut ISL season, he also registered 28 tackles, 14 interceptions, and 23 blocks, alongside 43 clearances.
"Honestly, I'm really happy. As soon as this club sort of said that they were going to be keen to keep me here, it was really a no-brainer for me. My family's taken to Mumbai and I've taken to Mumbai. The club has been good to me, the fans have been good to me. Obviously, (we have had) positive results on the pitch. And I'm excited to see if we can go again next year," Griffiths said in an interview with Mumbai City FC.
Griffiths began his career with former Premier League side Blackburn Rovers before moving to Australia. He has also plied his trade in China, Netherlands and Uzbekistan. Before signing Mumbai City FC, he was part of fellow City Football Group side Melbourne City FC.
He won back-to-back A-League Premiers with the club from 2020-22 and also was part of the club's debut AFC Champions League campaign in 2022. During his time with Melbourne City FC, Griffiths also worked with Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham, who was the assistant head coach of the Australian side during the 2020-21 season before the Englishman moved to Mumbai City FC. Griffiths revealed that Buckingham played a big role in his signature for Mumbai City FC.
"One of the exciting things for me coming here was the fact that it was the City (Football) Group, and I knew what Des was about. I knew that it was a similar style that I had been used to before coming to India. So I knew it wouldn't be a huge transition in terms of what the footballing aspect was, but to actually have success from doing it is one thing. Everyone wants to play nice football but to win football matches is obviously important," he stated.
Griffiths has gone on to establish himself as a fan favourite during his first season in Indian football. The 35-year-old has never missed an opportunity to celebrate with the Mumbai City FC supporters and hopes to do more of the same in the upcoming season.
"It's been pretty overwhelming to be honest (on the relation with the fans). I've never had so much positivity with the fans, even if I've had a good game, in every other country there's someone that always says something negative. There's always something. But here it just seems to be constantly positive, which has been really nice," he explained.
"There's been some good moments and interactions with the fans. I'd like to do more of it, to be honest. There's something, hopefully next season, (where) there can be even more interactions with the fans. Like every (other) club, there's a 12th man and I'm glad we have brought them success as well," he further added.
The two-time ISL Shield winners will be aiming to become the first club to defend the League Shield in ISL history after a historic campaign during the 2022-23 season. The Islanders will also return to Asia's premier club competition, the AFC Champions League, having put on a solid show during the 2022 edition, where they finished second in their group while winning two matches, something that no Indian club had done before.
Reflecting on his targets for the upcoming season, Griffiths stated: "I love it when people try to chase you down. It has a different mentality to try to stay at the top and it is something that I have been used to for the last couple of years. So hopefully regenerating the group and going again to challenge to win the (ISL League Shield) title and then obviously, the playoffs and to get involved in that again (to challenge for the ISL trophy). And now with the AFC Champions League campaign, I think that would be amazing." (ANI)