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ATK Mohun Bagan 2021 AFC Cup campaign: All you need to know

Here we take a detailed look at the ATK Mohun Bagan 2021 AFC Cup team and the opposition Mohun Bagan will face. The much anticipated AFC Cup campaign begins on 18th August, the competition they dream to win.

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Last updated: 18.08.2021
ATK Mohun Bagan 2021 AFC Cup campaign

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The Green and Maroons traveled to the Maldives, the centralized venue for all the Group D games, on 14 August to play the much anticipated AFC Cup campaign beginning on 18th August, the competition they dream to win it. Here we take a detailed look at the team and the opposition Mohun Bagan will face. 


ATK Mohun Bagan Squad 


Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharya, Amrinder Singh, Avilash Paul

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Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Subhasish Bose, Asutosh Mehta, Sumit Rathi, Deepak Tangri, Carl Mchugh 


Midfielders: Lenny Rodrigues, Sheikh Sahil, Bidyananda Singh, Ricky Shabong, Abhishek Suryavanshi, Kiyan Nassiri, Engson Singh Ningombam, Hugo Boumous


Forwards: Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh, David Williams, Roy Krishna


Manager: Antonio Lopes Habas 


Center back Sandesh Jhinghan made a sensational move to Croatia signing for HNK Sibenik in the top division. The AIFF player of the year became the sixth prominent Indian male footballer to ply trade in a foreign country.  It is indeed a proud moment for the nation's football to see a well-renowned name moving abroad but the transfer left a huge void in Mohun Bagan's defense. Also, Tiri wasn't recruited in the squad but he may join if Bagan makes it to the knockouts of the competition. Prabir Das missed out due to his lack of fitness and contracting Covid earlier while Pronay Halder used his exclusion from the squad by naming himself in the national team squad for upcoming friendlies. Five reserve players were called up to the squad too after impressing coach Habas during their trial with the senior team. 



Foreign quota, New signings & Contract renewals 



According to the AFC player registration rule, only four foreigners are allowed to be added to the squad including one from a country belonging to the members association. So, ATKMB had to tackle certain situations to decide the foreigners and get the squad ready on time. As a result, Carl McHugh was called upon to play in the defense ahead of high voltage signing in the form of Joni Kauko. The 31-year-old midfielder  who represented Finland in the European Championship this summer also have international commitments to look forward to in the next month so it was crucial to keep him fresh and injury-free for the Indian Super League season in November. Hence, he had to withdraw. 


For the Asian contingent, Bagan finally got hold of David Williams in gathering his visa on time from Australia and renewed his contract by a year. His inclusion is a massive boost to the forward line. This also relieved some of the burdens the ISL finalist from last season had to take if Williams failed to join the squad stationed at the Maldives.  The club also ran the risk of him leaving for free if he chose any other destination and also spending money in a short period to get an AFC-based player ahead of the tournament. 


Mohun Bagan made a series of incredible signings in the transfer window given performing well in the AFC Cup and eventually winning it.  The first arrival was the talented winger Liston Colaco from Hyderabad FC. Bagan paid a transfer fee of almost ₹1 crore to bag the service of the 22-year-old. Amrinder Singh is technically the first signing done by the historical club once his contract ran out with ISL champions Mumbai City FC. The shot-stopper signed on a mega-contract package of ₹10+ crore deal spread over five years. The Mariners also brought back faces like Deepak Tangri and Asutosh Mehta from Chennaiyan FC and NorthEast United on a free transfer. 


Spending didn't end there as two eye-catching transfers made all the headlines in the transfer market. Firstly, the arrival of Euro campaigner Joni Kauko further strengthen up the midfield of the team and while he isn't involved in the competition he is a player watch out for in the upcoming ISL campaign. But this wasn't the shock move that materialized. Mohun Bagan went on to pay a then-record fee of over ₹2 crores in the summer to secure the deal of Mumbai City's creative playmaker Hugo Boumous. The French Moroccan have contributed to 34 goals in 43 games so far in his ISL career. His addition is set to reshape ATKMB's frontline forever. Boumous penned a 5-year deal that will keep him at the club until at least 2026. There is a lot of expectation surrounding him in the upcoming campaign.  


However, the biggest news for the Mariners is that they were able to keep hold of their talisman and top scorer of last season Roy Krishna. Like Williams, the star striker from Fiji extended his contract by a year ending all sorts of rumours and speculations about him leaving the club. Krishna scored 14 goals and provided 4 assists in the ISL season but most importantly struck in the decisive moment to help Mohun Bagan to a second league finish and a place in the finals. Fans are in for more golazo from this excellent footballer. 


Fixtures & Opponents  


1) ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bengaluru FC (Wednesday, 18 August) 


2) Maziya S&R vs ATK Mohun Bagan (Saturday, 21 August)


3) ATK Mohun Bagan vs Basundhara Kings (24 August)



As known to everyone, the AFC Cup Group D games, South Zone second tier,  is starting after delayed due to Covid issues after multiple pled prominently from the Indian clubs to postpone the competition originally scheduled in May this year. 


The first challenge for Mohun Bagan in the Cup is a familiar foe from home, Bengaluru FC. A fixture deemed as the 'Indian classico' between the two trophy-laden clubs is now set to take a center stage on the continental level. Captained by Indian football icon Sunil Chettri, Bengaluru FC beat local club Eagles FC in the group stage qualifiers to land a fixture with the Green and Maroons. The last meeting between the sides at this competition went to Bagan's favor as they emerge 3-1 victorious in the group stages of 2017. 


Maziya is the next candidate to try to put the star-studded team into some kind of trouble. The club based in Male, the venue of all the games, is the holder of the Dhivehi Premier League title and has won the top division for back-to-back seasons now. The third and the last opposition to face for ATKMB in the group stages is Basundhara Kings from Bangladesh. They are a powerhouse in their country and will possess a significant threat to the Mariners. Despite all of these challenges, Mohun Bagan is eager to make a mark in this competition to give a mass appeal to already established status in Asian football. 

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