Joni Kauko here to score goals
Joni Kauko was at the ground when Christian Erkisen collapsed during the Denmark-Finland Euro match. And the shock of witnessing such an incident from close still echoes in Kauko’s voice.
Finland midfielder Kauko, ATK Mohun Bagan’s new star recruit, was seated on the reserve bench when Eriksen collapsed. “A lot of things were going in my head. We all feel happy that he has recovered and is better now,” Kauko said on Monday.
The match, which Finland won by a goal, saw Kauko come on as a substitute of Teemu Pukki. He also played in the group stage games against Russia and Belgium.
As the ATK Bagan squad prepares for the AFC Cup, Kauko is eager to share his experience of top-level football with his new teammates. “When you have played in big tournaments at the highest level, it helps you to bring along some of that experience and I hope I will be able to help the whole group with the experience that I have,” Kauko said.
He likes to play as a box-to-box midfielder, but is ready to play in any position that ATK Bagan coach Antonio Lopez Habas deems fit. “My playing position in ATK Bagan depends on which system we will be playing, but I hope I will have a big impact in attacking as a box-to-box midfielder. It’s pretty rare to have a midfielder who can score a lot of goals and I hope I will be able to do that here,” he said.
When asked about coach Habas, Kauko said: “We have been training hard for a while now, which is a good thing and I hope I will adapt well to his playing style. I can see his passion for football and that’s always a thing that I respect.”
The midfielder signed a two-year deal with ATK Bagan. The team management is also trying to rope in Raju Gaikwad as ace defender Sandesh Jhingan is likely to join an European club soon.
ATK Bagan will take on the winner of the play-off between Bengaluru FC and Club Eagles of Maldives in their AFC Cup Group D (South Zone) opener in Maldives on August 18.