ISL champions ATK reach home city to warm reception

Kolkata, Dec 19 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) champions Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) returned to the home city to a rousing reception both at the airport and at a plush shopping mall where they lifted the trophy in front of thousands of fans here on Monday.

“Thank you very much, Kolkata,” coach Jose Molina told the 3,000-odd fans, busy clicking photos of the winning bunch on their cell phones.

“We played as a team, everybody did their best for ATK, it’s been an excellent experience for me as a coach,” the former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper said later interacting with the media.

Except marquee player Helder Postiga, South African winger Sameegh Doutie, Botswana defender Ofentse Nato and Portugal centre-back Henrique Sereno, all the foreign players were present. Among the Indian players, barring India international Arnab Mondal, all were present.

“Jitbe ke, ATK! (Whose gonna win, ATK)”, was Jewel Raja, message to the fans as captain Borja Fernandez and Stephen Pearson were tossed up in the air by team-mates.

“We now have two stars on our shirts,” ATK’s Canadian striker Iain Hume, who finished as the highest scorer for the team, said referring to ATK’s second title triumph in three years of the tournament.

ATK will sport two stars on top of the team’s logo on the jersey, signifying the two titles won.

All the international players were seen recording the celebratory moments on their cell phones and clicking selfies with the theme song “Aamar Buke ATK” playing in the background.

ATK edged past Kerala Blasters in the final on penalties in Kochi on Sunday to win their second crown in three years.