Sanjeev Goenka on ATK’s AFC Cup slot: The mission is to be worthy of playing internationally

The ATK owner confirmed that the club has roped in Manvir Singh and Subhashis Bose from FC Goa and Mumbai City FC respectively…

ATK won their record third Indian Super League (ISL) title on Saturday after beating Chennaiyin FC 3-1 in the final at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa.

The owner of the club, Sanjeev Goenka thanked each and every player and coaching staff of ATK and expressed his gratitude towards the team.

“It is difficult to individually list out players. It was an exceptional performance and I express my heartfelt gratitude appreciation to each and every player. Prabir (Das) came back from an injury and made such a huge mark. Roy (Krishna) and Edu (Garcia) were brilliant, Javier (Hernandez) yesterday, what a performance. Sumit Rathi, a youngster who cemented his place in the team. Jayesh (Rane) played in a different position. Pritam (Kotal) was extraordinarily matured. Arindam (Bhattacharya) saved his best for the last two matches.”

ATK had already agreed to enter into a merger with Mohun Bagan and will form e new entity on June 1 which will compete in the ISL from next season.

Goenka confirmed that the club has already signed two players Manvir Singh from FC Goa and Subhashis Bose from Mumbai City FC from the upcoming season.

“Till now we were planning for this season which just got over. Now with the I-League and ISL under our belt, we will start planning for the next season which starts tomorrow. But as far as we are concerned, the two signings we have confirmed are Manvir Singh and Subhashis Bose. We are happy to have them.”

The RPSG Group chairperson confirmed that Spanish coach Antonio Lopez Habas will be leading the new entity in the next season as well.

ATK are likely to use Mohun Bagan’s AFC Cup slot which the Green and Maroons earned by virtue of winning the I-League this season. Goenka is hopeful about performing well at the continental level and suggested that they will prepare well to be worthy of playing internationally.

“It is very important. We congratulate FC Goa for getting the AFC Champions League spot. We hoped to get it but they had more points and had played better at that point. The mission is to become worthy of playing internationally and making a team that can compete effectively and hopefully win there as well.”

After winning the ISL title twice in the first three seasons, the Kolkata based franchise had a dry spell in the last two years and had finished at the bottom half of the table.

Admitting their mistakes in the past two seasons, Goenka said, “We made many mistakes in the last two seasons. We tried to correct that this year and the results are here for everyone to see.”

The ATK boss confirmed that they expect the team to reassemble by July. “We hope to reassemble in July but there will be bits and pieces happening now,” said Goenka.