Before he left Kolkata on Friday late evening Spanish coach of Atletico De Kolkata (ATK) Antonio Lopez Habas has reportedly informed ATK top brass that his one of the key conditions for continuing with ATK in the next season also will be that he will himself select team’s Indian footballers. According to senior ATK officials who had gone to Dumdum airport on Friday to see off Habas, the Spanish coach has promised them that he would again come to Kolkata in the end of February to finalize the contract renewal matter with ATK. But at the same time Habas has reportedly instructed ATK top brass that he will have the last word regarding the selection of Indian footballers in the team for the next season also.
Jose Ramirez Barreto, the ace Brazilian striker was given the charge of spotting and suggesting the names of Indian footballers to Habas in the opening season of the ISL. Then, ace Indian footballer and former captain Bhaichung Bhutia had been brought, replacing Barreto for consultancy and suggesting Indian footballers’ names to the team’s Spanish coach. But it has been learnt that Habas is not happy with most of his Indian footballers’ performance in the ISL this season where ATK crashed out of the tournament with a defeat against Chennaiyin FC in Kolkata.
One of the ATK executives told on Friday on condition of anonymity, “Habas has been impressed by four Indian footballers in this ISL. They are Amrinder Singh, Arnab Mondol, Augustin Fernandez and Izumi Arata. Along with these three Indian footballers Habas wants us to renew with three foreign footballers of current side. They are Ian Hume, Gavilan and Sami Doutie. All these matters are likely to be finalized in February once Habas comes again.”