Kolkata: Embattled Atletico de Kolkata have now turned to their inspirational co-owner Sourav Ganguly for motivation as the Indian Super League (ISL) franchise approach the business end of the tournament.
Known for his inspirational talks during his Team India stint, Ganguly will meet the ATK players at the team hotel tomorrow evening before they leave for three crucial away games beginning in Pune, which will determine their semifinal chances.
"Ganguly is scheduled to meet the players tomorrow evening at the team hotel. And it's most likely he would accompany the team to Pune. 99 per cent he would be there along with me for the Pune and Delhi matches," team co-owner Utsav Parekh told reporters on the sidelines of their practice session at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan here today.
Parekh also said that the high-profile Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simione is likely to come for the semifinals. Lack of goalline technology had robbed ATK of a draw in Kochi as the assistant referee had ruled out a sure-shot goal in ATK's favour when Luis Garcia's stoppage time shot had crossed the line after coming off the cross piece.
The former India captain had earlier expressed his anguish on Twitter. "I've not seen a football team be on the receiving end as ATK... If the second goal of Garcia is not a goal then rules football have changed," Ganguly wrote on his twitter handle.
In the aftermath of their 1-2 defeat in Kerala, there were reports of differences between their manager Antonio Habas and the captain Garcia, but Parekh stressed that there was no such issue.
Garcia and Co had a team meeting at the stadium yesterday and their manager, who had no idea about the development, was kept waiting for 40 minutes at the ground.
The former Liverpool star reportedly had an open talk with few of the Indian and outstation players who felt they were not given enough chances. Reiterating that the house was in order, Parekh said: "When he (Garcia) started talking to the players, something or the other came up for discussions and 30-40 minutes elapsed in this way.
"Even players are also disappointed with the way things are going and they have a feel that there's something amiss..." Incidentally, both Garcia and Habas along with other star players like Fikru Teferra, Jofre, Ofentse Nato among others did not attend the practice which was attended by only 12 players today.
Parekh said it was an optional practice.
Parekh also pointed out that the team was still no 2 and things would have been different had the refereeing decisions not gone against them.
"We would have been on par if the goal was given. Two very important decisions have gone against us.
"From no possible angle, it was not a goal. But as you say, this is part and parcel of the game. We have nothing to say.
"Jofre given a second yellow instead of getting a penalty in our match against Chennaiyin FC... There was no doubt that Jofre was stripped in the box," he said referring to their away match against CFC.
Parekh said the goalline technology would come into place next year while the players' draft system might be done away with. "There's no doubt that goalline technology will come into place next season. I'm not sure whether FIFA will allow for a decision review system."
He further said the draft system is likely to be withdrawn next season.
"Team building would be the main thing next year. We had to choose from PDS this year. We had no role to play. But if we think somebody is playing well then we can obviously rope in him. We can build our team in our own way. The organisers have already informed us.
"I think we are capable of bringing good players on our own from India and abroad. Most likely teams will be allowed."
ATK have just one home match left, against Goa, on December 10 and Parekh said there would be a host of Tollywood artists and popular singer Arijit Singh who would perform on the day.