Disappointed with AFC Cup being postponed: ATK’s Kotal

ATK Mohun Bagan defender Pritam Kotal is disappointed that the AFC Cup in the Maldives was postponed because of the bio-bubble breach, but said there was no option except accepting the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) decision.

The AFC had on May 9 announced the postponement of the AFC Cup Group D matches after three Bengaluru FC players allegedly breached Covid-19 protocols.

“They must have kept the issue of health of the players in mind while taking this decision. The matches have been postponed, not cancelled. I hope they will reschedule the matches and we will be able to get back to the field soon. Then we’ll again prepare ourselves in a better way, Kotal said.

Bengaluru FC, who compete in the Indian Super League (ISL), were scheduled to face local club Eagles FC in a playoff match after which the Group D matches were scheduled to start on May 14, with Mohun Bagan facing the winners of the playoff.

On the postponement, Kotal said: “The Covid-19 situation is not good in other countries too. That’s why, we must accept the decision made by the AFC. I believe they have taken the call after going through the situation thoroughly.”

Kotal has featured in all seven ISL seasons so far, winning the prestigious trophy twice with Mohun Bagan in 2016 and 2019-20.

Kotal said he was in great form and was looking forward to the tournament. “For the last few weeks, along with my teammates, coaches and officials, my focus was only on the AFC Cup matches. But before that the matches were postponed.”