Banking on Spanish flavour

TEAM ATLETICO DE KOLKATA during a group interaction at its headquarters.-PTI

Fatafati (the Bengali colloquial term for outstanding) Football” is the signage that adorns the official bus of Atletico de Kolkata, which apparently seeks to mimic the success of Spanish tiki-taka in the ISL extravaganza. A consortium of owners, led by the nonpareil Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian cricket captain, has declared that Atletico de Kolkata will do everything to raise the level of Indian football.

The arrangement is perfect with the La Liga champion Atletico de Madrid venturing out of the Spanish shores to join Kolkata’s charismatic ‘Dada’. Ganguly, who is the protagonist of this consortium, has stressed time and again that his team is going to offer quality football no matter what the results are.

With Atletico Madrid given the task of team formation, there is enough Spanish flavour, with the 2006 Spanish World Cup player Luis Garcia named the marquee player. “The foreigners and the big signings are there to draw the public, but eventually this tournament will offer the platform to Indian players to showcase their talent. In a few years you will have Indian idols playing in the big leagues in Europe,” says Garcia about the tournament.

Former Bolivia and Valencia manager Antonio Lopez Habas has put together a decent combination that centres round the excellence of six Spaniards, including Garcia, and the former Real Madrid midfielder Borja Fernandez. “We will have a balanced approach depending upon the opposition,” says Habas. He denies laying emphasis on an aggressive approach, which many expected to be the hallmark of the volatile Dada’s team. There are a host of prominent I-League players like Arnab Mondal, Climax Lawrence, Baljit Sahni and Sanju Pradhan to lend support to the illustrious foreign cast.

Amitabha Das Sharma