Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


ISL 2020-21: If not for ATK, Mohun Bagan would be where SC East Bengal are right now

ISL 2020-21: If not for ATK, Mohun Bagan would be where SC East Bengal are right now

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 6 Jan 2021 6:57 AM GMT

A lot has been made of SC East Bengal’s poor start to their debut Indian Super League (ISL) campaign. The lack of quality domestic players and squad imbalance, coupled with their curtailed pre-season have been quoted as explanations why the Kolkata giants have been pushed aside by most teams in the first few games. On the other hand, ATK Mohun Bagan have been getting a lot of plaudits for their versatility, obvious quality and team chemistry. What people tend to forget is that all of the Mariners’ best qualities have been passed down to them from the erstwhile ATK. Let us try to understand how.


Out of the entire Mohun Bagan squad from last season’s I-League, only ten players were picked by other ISL clubs. ATK Mohun Bagan themselves retained just three, a number that is quite low considering the fact that we are speaking about the I-League champions.

Moreover, none of those three, Avilash Paul, Sheikh Sahil and Subha Ghosh, have played any real part in the ISL so far. Only Sahil has featured for the side, that too for just 86 minutes across four games. Subha is now entangled in a transfer dispute between his parent club and Kerala Blasters while Avilash is yet to play.

If you look at the foreigners from last years’ Bagan side, only Fran Gonzalez has managed to find himself an ISL club. Joseba Beitia has joined Punjab FC while Komron Tursunov has signed for Trau FC, both in the I-League. Now comes the interesting part.

As many as 14 players in the current club setup played for ATK in the 2019-20 ISL campaign. These are Arindam Bhattacharja, Dheeraj Singh, Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal, Sumit Rathi, Edu Garcia, Carl McHugh, Javi Hernandez, Jayesh Rane, Michael Soosairaj, Pronay Halder, Regin Michael, Roy Krishna and David Williams. Moreover, four players who have come through ATK’s academy and reserve teams have also been included in this season’s squad. They are Arsh Shaikh, Boris Singh, Ningombam Engson Singh and Fardin Ali Molla.

It is therefore undeniable that because of the merger, Mohun Bagan have had minimal issues in sorting out the spine of their squad. They have had access to a pool of talented players through their association with ATK and their Chairman Sanjiv Goenka. Without them, where the club would have finished in the ISL table this season is anyone’s guess. Considering the fact that most of the teams would have retained their key players, Mohun Bagan, on their own, might have had to build a team from scratch, a lot like SC East Bengal have.

Next Story