Kolkata Sep 23 (IANS) Atletico de Kolkata (ATK’s) and India footballer Arnab Mondal rued missing the team’s pre-Indian Super League (ISL) training in Spain, admitting he has a lot of catching up to do ahead of their first match against reigning champions Chennaiyin FC on October 2.
“Missing pre-season makes things difficult. I will have to acclimatise faster than others”, the defender said at a pre-tournament press meet here.
Atletico, the inaugural champions, landed in the city on Thursday morning.
Arnab missed the pre-season due to his Calcutta Football League (CFL) commitments with East Bengal who eventually won the league for a record seventh time.
“As professional footballers you cannot do anything about it. The calendar is such that you have to live with it.”
“It would have certainly helped had I been in Spain with the team as spending time with the boys help team rapport and understanding. We have a new coach this year so it is needed more,” the local lad added.
Former Spanish World Cupper Jose Francisco Molina will be ATK’s head coach for the upcoming season taking over the reins from compatriot Antonio Habas who has jumped ship to join rivals FC Pune City.
Asked how ISL is helping Indian football develop, the national side’s regular centreback said, “We get to play with big players, go on foreign exposure trips, have good trainers. ISL has certainly helped the national side perform better.”
ATK have made wholesale changes in their home-grown players roster, contrary to their foreigner line-up, retaining seven players.
Arnab though said he would have no qualms adjusting to the new set up of home-grown players.
“I will have no problems adjusting to the new players as I know all of them. I am looking forward to train with the side and adapt as fast as possible.”