Taking a step towards building their team for the upcoming third edition of the Indian Super League, ISL-1 champions and ISL-2 semifinalists Atletico de Kolkata, today announced that the team has retained foreign players in Canadian Iain Hume, Spain’s Jose Luis Espinosa Arroyo (Tiri), Sameehg Doutie (South Africa) and Ofentse Nato (Botswana) from the previous season.
The team management also announced the new additions to the team from the domestic circuit which will strengthen the side ahead of the buildup en route for the ISL-3.
Riding the waves of popularity will be the Canadian striker, Iain Hume who scored 11 goals in the ISL 2015, including two hattricks, and helped Atletico de Kolkata reach the semifinals. Bolstering the squad again will be Ofentse Nato and the very dynamic Tiri and Sameehg Doutie, who stole the show along with Hume last season.
Amongst Indian player ATK have retained the services of experienced Arnab Mandal for a third time in defence and have further retained central midfielder, Jewel Raja. New additions are Shilton Pal, Debjit Majumder, Pritam Kotal, Bikramjit Singh, Kingshuk Debnath, Bidyananda Singh Ningthoujam, Bikash Jairu, Lalrindika Ralte, Robert Lalthalmuana and Prabir Das will add to the finesse on the pitch.
The inclusion of young Bidyananda Singh, who is touted as the next big thing in Indian football will definitely increase excitement among fans. Nicknamed as the Indian Honda, this Under-17 player from Manipur was spotted by Youth Academy coaches from FC Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter Milan and was the most versatile player during the training camp at the Aspire Academy in Doha.
ATK co-owner Sanjiv Goenka (Chairman RP- Sanjiv Goenka Group) in a statement said, “This year we at Atlético de Kolkata are looking at zeroing upon some consistent performers while building the team for 2016. The motive is to build a favourable and experienced bench strength who will prove to be an asset over the taxing three month long tournament. We have retained our star performers from last season who have been game changers for us on numerous occasions. The consistency and experience shown by them and their ability to grow attuned to the vision of ATK has won many hearts of fans. We plan to up our game few notches higher in the third edition and our choices are inclined in that direction.”
New ATK head coach José Molina said, “I am eagerly looking forward for my visit to the football capital of India and coach an exciting team whose performance over two seasons has been fantastic. I am truly excited about the talent I will encounter in India as I am going through their profiles and seeing clippings of their past matches. This year we have some of the best Indian players who will be playing for ATK. I have heard about the love for the game in Kolkata and how passionate are the fans. It will be my priority to marshal my troop and ensure memorable football.”