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Atletico keen on Mehtab & Subrata

Calcutta: The likes of Mehtab Hussain, Syed Rahim Nabi and Subrata Paul seem to be on the wish list of Atletico de Kolkata when the Indian Super League (ISL) franchises get together to pick Indian footballers from the domestic player draft, beginning on Monday, in Mumbai.

With 84 Indian footballers in the central domestic player pool, the players will go under the hammer for pay packets ranging between Rs 6 to 60 lakh.

Though the city franchise officials remained tight-lipped about the players they would go for in the three-day event, Jose Ramirez Barreto, one of their assistant coaches, did elaborate a little on this matter.

“Look, players like Mehtab, Nabi and Paul have all established themselves. The way they have performed over the years, they ought to be the automatic choices for every franchise.

“If we can get them in our team, there cannot be anything better. Their inclusion will be an asset for any side,” Barreto said on Saturday.

“Hailed across the world as an equitable system of player allocation across participating clubs, the central domestic player draft would be held for the first time in an Indian football event,” a media release said.

Apart from the trio, the 84-player strong list will also feature senior national team players in Gouramangi Singh, Nirmal Chetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Francis Fernandes and Lenny Rodrigues among others. A total of 39 players have represented India at the senior level, of which 22 are or have been part of the national team set-up over the past two years.

The first day of the event will see the League deciding club’s sequence for the draft through a lot pick, while the next two days will witness club representatives making their best choice through 14 rounds of draft system.

Apart from Atletico de Kolkata, Delhi Dynamos FC, Kerala Blasters FC, and the Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune franchises will be competing in the player draft. North-East United FC of Guwahati and the Goa franchise won’t be active at the draft proceedings since they have already retained their set of the required 14 Indian players from their respective I-League teams, Lajong FC and Dempo SC.

However, the names of their players will be announced at the draft as per the round sequence.

In terms of playing positions, the ISL has 27 forwards and wingers, 21 midfielders, 26 defenders and 10 goalkeepers. The pool includes 30 players on loan from four I-League clubs, as well as free agents who have been centrally contracted.

There are also provisions for additional seven players in the Central Reserve Pool to serve as future replacement in case of injuries or other emergencies.