Kolkata, passion and craze for football – all go hand in hand. The love and emotion for the beautiful game has always been high in the City Of Joy, as football is a part and parcel of the everyday life of Kolkata citizens. Always dominated by Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan SC, the footballing craze in the city saw a huge surge in 2014, when a certain Indian Super League was going to commence, and the local franchise was handed over to none other than Kolkata’s prince, Sourav Ganguly.
ATK, previously known as Atletico De Kolkata, had caught the attention of the masses when it associated itself with Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. Although the scenario has changed in 2020, initially ATK was seen as an unifying factor for Mohun Bagan and East Bengal fans, who could come together and cheer for one team at peace during the initial editions of Hero ISL.
The inaugural edition of the Indian Super League could not have been better for the Kolkata giants. They had a dream run in the tournament and faced Kerala Blasters in the final at DY Patil Stadium where Kolkata’s very own Mohammad Rafique’s header sealed the game for them. That team consisted of some incredible footballers, who were a treat to watch. Today, as the ISL completes its sixth season, we look back at the first ever ISL winning ATK team who achieved the ultimate glory and see where they are today.
Let’s kick off!
The Armenian custodian was an integral part of ISL winning ATK teamATK in their journey to victory. He pulled off some impressive saves to keep a clean sheet in the final and help ATK lift the trophy. After that stint, he made his way back to the Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv, though not for too long. In the following season of the ISL, Edel returned to guard the sticks, but this time in a different outfit. Chennaiyin FC signed Edel and miraculously, Edel won the league with Chennaiyin FC to make it 2 titles in 2 years, a rare feat till date. In 2016, he moved to the west as he represented FC Pune City, which would eventually be his last professional club. The following year, Edel retired from the game, bringing an end to an illustrious career.
Kingshuk Debnath played a key role in the defense for ATK and helped them seal the victory. While the defender was loaned from Mohun Bagan, he continued to play for them till 2018 and had stints with Mumbai City FC and again with ATK in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Later on he played for East Bengal, and from there he ventured on to his latest club, Bhawanipore FC.
Arnab Mondal played 3 seasons for ATK and won 2 titles with them. He was instrumental in ATK’s win as he had an excellent partnership with Josemi, the former Liverpool defender. He also went on represent the country in 27 games. In 2018-19 season he returned to ATK from East Bengal after having an average season. Since then, he hasn’t been able to replicate his past performances. Currently, he is without a club and would hope to make a quick comeback onto the big scene once again!
Josemi Miguel González Rey, commonly known as Josemi is best known for his time at Liverpool where he had won the UEFA Champions League in 2005. He signed for Atletico de Kolkata in 2014 and formed a solid partnership with Arnab Mondal at the back. Needless to say that he was an essential element of the ISL winning ATK team of 2014. He stayed with them for another season until he got injured midway and had to be ruled out for the season. Almost a year later he announced his retirement in 2016. In 2017 he returned to his boyhood club Málaga as match delegate.