ATK re-appoint Antonio Lopez Habas as head coach
Written by: Sourav Neogi
The Spaniard has already been at the helm of the club in the past.
Antonio López Habas has previously been successful with ATK, leading them to glory in the inaugural season of ISL in 2014 and taking the team to the semi-finals in 2015. Known for his unconventional moves and aggressive style, Habas is a fan-favourite and is rated highly for his tactics.
“I am very proud to be the Head Coach of ATK. I have always had the feeling that I will be back to train the team. I am sure that with the support of the fans, and us working together, we will get the recognition and the results that the club deserves. Success will be achieved when we aspire to compete hard and add to the professional growth of the club. Many thanks to ATK for showing their confidence in me yet again," Habas said after his appointment.
“I am glad to welcome back our new Head Coach, Antonio López Habas to the ATK family. I wish him all the best to carry our two-time championship legacy forward. He is an exceptional manager and I am hopeful Habas will lead the way for ATK with his unique strategies and his enthusiasm," Sanjiv Goenka, Principal Owner of ATK quipped.
The 61-year-old Spanish tactician has prior experience of playing in La Liga for clubs such as Sevilla, Real Murcia and Burgos CF as a defender. He has had an extensive coaching career where he coached the Bolivian national team and appeared with them at four Copa América tournaments. Habas was also hired by Valencia CF as their Head Coach in La Liga.
Despite his success with the Kolkata outfit in the first edition of the tournament, it was reported that Habas lost the dressing room later for his antiques. The Spaniard then moved to FC Pune City, however, could not replicate his success with the Stallions.
Since winning the league twice in 2014 and 2016, ATK have gone into a slump as they failed to reach the playoffs since 2016. In the last two seasons, under the coaching of four different head coaches, Teddy Sheringham, Ashley Westwood (interim), Robbie Keane (interim) and Steve Coppell, ATK could only finish in the ninth and the sixth positions.
After the debacle in the 2017-18 season, the club spent heavily in the transfer market and brought several domestic talents as well as high paying overseas players but could not replicate their performance in the first three seasons.
With Habas returning to the fold, it is now expected from the Kolkata side to display fluent attacking gameplay, something that was missing from the side since Jose Molina left the club for greener pastures after the third season.
However, the appointment of Habas also indicates a re-evaluation of sorts at the club as the Spaniard is known to work with only certain kinds of players and the future of several players at the club now look to be uncertain at best. Players like Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Debjit Majumder, Balwant Singh, and Pritam Kotal have either played less or have not impressed whenever they were given chances and now the appointment makes their future uncertain for the next season.
Published: Thu May 02, 2019 03:57 PM IST