ATK Mohun Bagan will begin their campaign in the Durand Cup against Rajasthan United at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.
This will also be the Calcutta team’s first match of the season. They were slated to play the AFC Cup 2022 Inter-Zone semi finals on September 7, but the Fifa ban on India has put a spanner in that plan. However, the sports ministry has requested the world football governing body and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to allow Indian clubs to compete in the tournaments as scheduled, despite the ban on AIFF. Apart from ATK Mohun Bagan, the Gokulam Kerala FC women’s team is scheduled to compete in the AFC Women’s Club Championship from August 23.
After practising away from prying eyes for three days, ATK Mohun Bagan on Friday announced a 27-member squad for the Durand Cup. Spanish coach Juan Ferrando also revealed that the team will have four captains. For newcomer Florentin Pogba, it was a special birthday gift as he was named, along with Joni Kauko, Subhashish Bose and Pritam Kotal. Ferrando sounded cautious ahead of their first group B match.
“We are in a tough group. I have seen Rajasthan United play in the I-League and they are a good team.
“I feel Bagan are a stronger team now. All five foreign players are fit... The first match of any tournament is very important. Our goal is to win every match,” he said.
FC Goa win FC Goa bounced back from their opening day loss as they eked out a 1-0 win over Indian Air Force in a group A match.
Muhammed Nemil was the scorer. In a group D match in Guwahati, Sudeva FC held Kerala Blasters to a 1-1 draw. Mohammed Ajsal took the Delhi side ahead but Mangku Kuki levelled the score for the Blasters.
Kick off: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Rajasthan United: 6pm, Salt Lake Stadium
A first for Manisha
Young striker Manisha Kalyan became the first Indian footballer to play in the Uefa Women’s Champions League when she made her debut for Apollon Ladies FC in the European Club competition in Engomi, Cyprus.
Manisha replaced Cyprus’ Marilena Georgiou in the 60thminute at the Makareio Stadium, as Apollon Ladies FC beat Latvian top flight club SFK Riga 3-0 in their UWCL opener on Thursday. The 20-year-old Manisha had produced impressive performances for the national team and Gokulam Kerala in the Indian Women’s League(IWL).