Kolkata based Indian Super League (ISL) franchise ATK has always been a pioneer in setting up examples in the history of the league. From being the first team to sign a foreigner (Borja Fernandez) to being the first team to win the league twice it has always set benchmarks for other Indian clubs.
Now, they probably had made another major point by relying on a leadership group instead of a captain for the sixth edition of the premiere Indian football league. European clubs like Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United among many others have previously adopted the 'leadership group' approach.
Sources close to The Bridge can confirm that the Red and White gaffer Antonio Lopez Habas has formed a core group of leaders in the team consisting of the senior and experienced players in the squad who will share responsibilities among themselves in leading the team all through the season.
The group includes goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya; defenders John Johnson, Agus Garcia, Pritam Kotal and Prabir Das and midfielder Pronay Halder. For the first match of the season, Pritam Kotal has been chosen to wear the captain’s armband as they travel to Kochi to face Kerala Blasters at the Tuskers’ den. In other words, the Spanish boss, this time, has chosen to rotate the captain’s role among his senior lads as he aspires to maintain the 'balance' in his team.
ATK mostly has been led by a defender or a midfielder during their previous tenures under Habas. The combination in the leadership group asserts the mentality and the strategy of the gaffer to maintain a perfect equilibrium all through their squad as they begin their campaign of being 'the first team to win three ISL titles'.