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ISL: Sk Sahil could be ATK Mohun Bagan’s secret weapon and here's why

ISL: Sk Sahil could be ATK Mohun Bagan’s secret weapon and heres why
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By

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 5 Nov 2020 11:25 AM GMT

Sk Sahil, hailed as one of the upcoming football stars in the country owing to his fantastic displays for the Mariners all season, will be seen in action in the Indian Super League (ISL) as he turns out for ATK Mohun Bagan FC in the upcoming season.

Having joined Mohun Bagan’s academy at a very early age, Sahil’s penny dropping moment came last season when he was brought to the notice of then Bagan coach Kibu Vicuna following his participation in the Zee Bangla U19 Football League organised by the Indian Football Association (IFA).

Playing as a centre-back, Sahil was one of the mainstays in the Mohun Bagan side that finished second best to fierce rivals East Bengal in the crowd unrest-affected final match of the tournament. He was soon drafted into the senior side ahead of the 2019-20 I-League campaign and was converted into a central midfielder by the coaching staff, owing to his composure, ability on the ball and passing range.

A year and an I-League title later, Sahil is being hailed as one of the upcoming stars in the country owing to his fantastic displays for the Mariners all season. Still only 20, the Kolkata lad has now been retained by the side following their merger with ATK and is going to be a crucial player in the centre of the park for the Green and Maroons.

https://twitter.com/atkmohunbaganfc/status/1292777720049328129

"I have been playing in my favourite green-maroon jersey ever since I came to play in the Mohun Bagan U-14 team," Sahil said when asked about his journey thus far before adding, “I am fortunate to have the opportunity to wear this jersey again under Habas Sir”.

Primed for a role in defensive midfield, Sahil has taken his head coach Antonio Lopez Habas by surprise with his composure and discipline on the pitch and is now set to feature heavily in his plans with the Spaniard considering starting him ahead of more established and experienced Indian medios. It is a good headache for Habas to have, as playing Sahil in a defensive midfield role could unleash the true nature of Javier Hernandez or Bradden Inman.

What seem to have tilted the scales in Sahil's favour are his passing range and ability to adapt to various match situations during both attacking and defensive transitions. When questioned about training under Habas, Sahil said, “Habas Sir is giving me various suggestions every day. He is pointing out my mistakes. He appreciates giving a good pass or taking possession from an opposition player.”

He might be a lion-heart on the field, but off it Sahil is still a soft-spoken and shy young boy who just wants to work towards making his dreams come true, something that is indicative in his attitude towards his job. “It's a challenge to get into the XI with so many talented footballers in our squad. Coach Sir tells me to take it as a challenge and I am trying to do that as best as I can," he expresses with humility.

His 87% pass completion rate in the I-League last term was higher than any of the domestic midfielders playing in the Indian Super League and the challenge for him this season would be to replicate that form on a bigger stage and under considerably more pressure.

Not a finished article by any means, he still has to improve on the defensive aspect of his game to be viewed as a complete modern-day midfielder. However, he is striking all the right chords at the moment and with more chances against the best teams in the country, Sahil should emerge as a top top player in the years to come.

Also read: Antonio Habas’ plan to do it again and ATK Mohun Bagan FC’s best XI

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