ATK Mohun Bagan gearing up to begin the maiden title hunt in ISL 9

Will the Mariners be able to sustain their consistency for yet another season?

The Green and Maroon Brigade from the City of Joy is returning to launch another claim on the throne of the Indian top-flight league. The Kolkata-based outfit suffered yet another dreadful finish in their previous Indian Super League campaign which has forced them to make necessary changes in the gameplan for the title hunt. ‘Parimatch News‘ brings an exhaustive analysis of ATK Mohun Bagan for ISL  9. 

The Kolkata Mariners had a forgettable campaign in the recently concluded 2022 Durand Cup where they couldn’t even qualify for the knockout phase of Asia’s oldest existing football tournament. A thrilling 2-3 defeat against the I-League outfit Rajasthan United in the opening fixture did not allow them to go further. 

During the same time period, the Green and Maroon forces suffered from another heartbreak as their continental campaign came to an end. The two injury-time goals from Kuala Lumpur City ensured the second consecutive Inter-Zonal Semi-Final exit for the Kolkata-based club at the AFC Cup competition. 

A look at last season’s performance

It was their second Indian top-flight league appearance in the 2021-22 season after the grand merger of ATK and Mohun Bagan. The runners-up of the 2020-21 ISL Premiere and Championship once again qualified for the playoff stages but missed the AFC Champions League qualification ticket by six points. Despite the sloppy kick-off to the league stage campaign, the Mariners still managed to finish third in the standings with 37 match points from 20 games. 

After taking over the charge in December 2021, the head coach Juan Ferrando changed the fortunes of the legacies and kept them among the final four. However, the contention of the Green and Maroon Brigade for the ISL Championship was ended by the eventual champions Hyderabad in the penultimate round. The aggressive scoreline of 2-3 in the favour of the Nizams at the full-time whistle of the second leg knocked them out. 

New signings ahead of the 2022-23 ISL season 

Ashique lands in the City of Joy for the next chapter of his career

Ashique lands in the City of Joy for the next chapter of his career 

The arrival of the Indian international Ashique Kuruniyan is a major addition to the domestic roster of the club. The 25-year-old left-winger has been added to the ATKMB squad after trading out the local right-back Prabir Das to Bengaluru in a swap deal. Ferrando promoted Ashique to the forward line in the pre-season camp which is a great sign for the youngster who couldn’t perform in the defensive positions during his Bengaluru stint. 

As a replacement for Prabir, the Mariners have signed another top right-back defender Asish Rai from the defending champions Hyderabad. The holding midfielder Pranoy Haldar who played a crucial role in the 2021-22 ISL Premiere triumph of Jamshedpur has rejoined his home club after completion of the season-long loan. 

Meanwhile, many of the youngsters like Arsh Anwer Sheikh, Sumit Rathi, and Kiyan Nassiri who were tied under the youth contracts have received promoted deals. 

The 32-year-old central defender Florentin Pogba is the biggest signing of ATK Mohun Bagan in the summer transfer window of 2022. Florentin is the elder brother of the French world cup winner Paul Pogba and has switched to Guinea in the international circuit after representing France at the U-20 level. His CV features playing experience at renowned football leagues such as French Ligue 1 and Major League Soccer.

Pogba will be accompanied by the Australian centre-back Brendan Hamill who will be filling out the mandatory sixth foreigner’s place from the AFC member nation. The 30-year-old Sydney-born defender was part of the A-League outfit Melbourne Victory before taking up the ISL call-up from Kolkata. The third and final foreign recruit is another Sydney-born player Dimitri Petratos who dons the role of attacking midfielder and has also made three international appearances for the Australian National Team. 

Predicted Starting XI

Vishal Kaith; Asish Rai, Pritam Kotal, Florentin Pogba, Deepak Tangri, Subhasish Bose; Joni Kauko, Hugo Boumous; Liston Colaco, Dimitri Petratos, Ashique Kuruniyan 


The Green and Maroon forces look well-settled on paper and do not lack star power in any department. In fact, they also have a great squad depth, having an adequate number of options available for each position in the starting lineup. The squad depth is the tangible strength of this squad which offers a wide range of choices for Ferrando and allows him to implicate various formations with multiple options. 

The Goan colossal mapping new heights in the Green and Maroon colours

The Goan colossal mapping new heights in the Green and Maroon colours 

The domestic roster of ATK Mohun Bagan features many high-profile names such as Vishal Kaith, Manvir Singh, Subhasish Bose, Liston Colaco, Ashique Kuruniyan, Pritam Kotal, Asish Rai etc. The quality of their Indian players is so good that the Kolkata-based outfit can also field an All-Indian XI in different circumstances. Especially, the 23-year-old Colaco who emerged as the top scorer of the club bagging eight goals from 18 appearances in the presence of elite attackers who couldn’t outclass the Goan forward. 

The young general of the Mariners, Juan Ferrando has a 100% record of taking his team to the knockout round after executing it in the first two attempts with different clubs. After analyzing the club’s squad strength, the Spaniard gaffer kept the same playstyle by complimenting it with his own tactics. His vision and excellence in utilizing the available resources appropriately is a major plus point that transforms them into a formidable side.


The struggle of establishing coordination with the Indian teammates is considered the toughest challenge for foreigners who arrive in this country for the first time. Three foreign players fall in the above-mentioned category hence the Bagan Brigade may face the same issue again which took a heavy toll in their previous campaign. In the last season, they bolstered their foreign department with elite names but the lack of tuning between them was clearly visible. 

The recent track record of this club indicates that they have failed to perform up to the expectations in critical circumstances. The Senior players whom the fans always look up to during such moments and disappointed them on several occasions in recent times. Meanwhile, the new inductions also do not possess ample qualities of being the clutch player when the club needs them the most. 

Season Prediction 

Ferrando must be aiming for bigger goals in his first full-fledged ISL campaign as the Mariners’ head coach and improvisation from the performance of last season. The squad looks promising on paper and capable enough to be among the Final Six at the end of the league stage. However, it will all depend on the execution phase whether the Mariners will be able to implement the blueprint efficiently on the field or not.