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ISL: What is going on at your club — ATK Mohun Bagan FC

ISL: What is going on at your club — ATK Mohun Bagan FC
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By

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 2 Oct 2020 10:25 AM GMT

In our new series, ‘What is going on at your club’, we bring the latest updates on everything that is going around at your favourite Indian football club. For our second article, we pick Indian Super League (ISL) outfit ATK Mohun Bagan FC, who are again looking like potential title contenders.

The last few months have been nothing short of a joyride for ATK Mohun Bagan FC fans. While news of the merger and subsequent entry into the Indian Super League (ISL) was something that kept the fans’ morale afloat during the lockdown, a number of top-notch signings since, have left them grinning from ear to ear.

The club moved quickly to sign Subhasish Bose and Manvir Singh from Mumbai City FC and FC Goa respectively, before nabbing centre-back Tiri from Jamshedpur FC. Contracts were also extended for ATK mainstays like Roy Krishna, David Williams, Carl McHugh and Edu Garcia while the foreign contingent was further boosted with the purchase of Aussie midfielder Brad Inman.

Then came the big one with the transfer saga of the season crescendoing, as Sandesh Jhingan posed in a Green and Maroon jersey in what was a very Europe-like player announcement video. This was swiftly followed by Javi Hernandez’s contract extension and the signing of Glan Martins from Churchill Brothers. With star defender Sandesh arriving in Kolkata at the peak of his powers, the club management seems to have covered all its bases rather well ahead of what is going to be a gruelling domestic season for the club along with its AFC Cup commitments.

This past week has been all about players arriving in Goa safely amidst strict protocols laid down by the league. Sandesh Jhingan joined his teammates as he flew down to Goa on Wednesday, while Roy Krishna, who after being allowed re-entry into the country by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), will be arriving in Goa after quarantining for two weeks in New Zealand.

https://twitter.com/atkmohunbaganfc/status/1311161348533837825

With a mandatory 10-day quarantining period for teams arriving by air and a 7-day period for those arriving by road, all the players that have assembled in Goa have pigeonholed themselves in their hotel rooms with regular testing being conducted. It is slightly different for the foreign players though, as they would have to go through another five rounds of testing within 12 days of arriving before they are allowed inside the ISL bio-bubble. With the MEA giving its clearance, clubs have to now negotiate with the respective governments and Football Associations to ensure their foreign players’ safe passage back to Goa.

Amidst all of this, head coach Antonio Lopez Habas has kept a keen eye on proceedings from Spain. The experienced Spaniard has had a direct say in the club’s transfer activity till now and is said to be extremely pleased with the squad that has been assembled for him. Notorious for being extremely meticulous and particular about things, the 63-year-old has instructed the club management to set up a gymnasium at their Goa base which is identical to the one that they have back home in Kolkata. Some of the equipment is to be transported from Kolkata while the rest will be procured locally, allowing the players to maintain their physical shape in a somewhat familiar environment.

This, and a lot more like this makes ATK Mohun Bagan the place to be in the context of Indian football at the moment. Like midfielder Javi Hernandez mentioned in an interview recently, the merger is sure to take the club from strength to strength and give the players every opportunity to compete in their domestic as well as continental campaign this season. With the best of both worlds at their disposal, it remains to be seen how the champions from last season fare against their rivals, and whether they can justify the favourites tag which has rightly been bestowed on them, for now.

Also read: What is going on at your club — Bengaluru FC

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