ATK FC – the most successful team in the Indian Super League history. In 2014, 2016 and 2019-20 , ATK have triumphed and lifted the trophy to assert their dominance. Right now, they are a force to reckon. But still, there are fingers being raised at them by Indian football fans, and the reason is a very valid one.
Allegations are that ATK are rusting down some of the future prospects of India by not giving them game time. It’s understandable that the agents always want their clients to play in the topmost league in Indian football so that they come into the limelight and get a chance to don the national team jersey but sometimes, they forget one obvious thing which is that in a matchday, maximum fourteen players can contribute. Some future talents, in search of money and with high hopes, have come to the club only to get benched.
ATK FC had registered twenty-eight players the previous season by having back-ups in every position, bringing in U-17 World Cup star Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem from Kerala Blasters FC and also roping in 2018-19 I-league highest Indian goal scorer, Jobby Justin. Salam Ranjan Singh from Quess East Bengal FC and promising side-back Boris Singh Thangjam from Indian Arrows were also brought in for a hefty amount of money.
Here are 5 players we feel were robbed of their potential by being benched almost every match.
3#5. Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem
After having a great performance in the U-17 World Cup, he completed his stint with Indian Arrows and went to Scotland to try his luck with Motherwell FC, but failed to sign for them. He came back and signed for Kerala Blasters FC and under the guidance of David James played thirteen matches between the sticks and kept four clean-sheets.
ATK signed him for the 2019-20 season and everyone predicted that he would get the chances ahead of Arindam Bhattacharya, but it turned out to be the opposite as Arindam, having an advantage of playing under Antonio Lopez Habas once before in FC Pune City (now Hyderabad FC), was chosen ahead of Dheeraj in the first few games but with an experienced campaigner like Arindam, it went was difficult for the young shot-stopper to get game-time. He finally got his debut match in red and white colors against Bengaluru FC in their last group stage match at Kanteerava Stadium but he failed to perform up to everyone’s expectations.
He is still a work in progress and needs minutes to fulfill his potential.