Habas to be named Marque manager of Atletico de Kolkata
Kolkata: Retired Spanish defender Antonio Lopez Habas is all set to be named the marquee manager, while former Real Madrid midfielder Borja Fernandez will be one of the two foreigners of the Atletico de Kolkata in the upcoming Indian Super League.
57-year-old Habas, who has more than 20 years of coaching experience in about 16 clubs, mostly in Spain, will take charge in the ceremonial launch of the Kolkata franchise by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tomorrow, a source in the team said.
The function at the state secretariat, Nabanna, in the afternoon will announce their two foreign recruits besides their marquee manager and player.
"Habas will be here along with the marquee player. The chief minister will also unveil their team logo and jersey," the source told PTI.
Habas played in 48 La Liga matches including eight for Sevilla in four seasons but he spent most of his playing career with second division club Real Murcia before hanging his boots at Atletico Madrid where he did not feature in any official game.
33-year-old Borja, on the other hand, has announced his Indian adventure leaving Getafe in his official Twitter handle @BorjaFF, his first move overseas.
"After 13 years in Spain, I`ve decided to take a break and experience an adventure abroad... Indian Super League: Atletico Madrid Kolkata," reads the English translation of his tweet in Spanish.
"Thanks to the teams who tempted me to have another season in Spain, but I may not have this opportunity again," he added.
The Kolkata franchise has already `welcomed` Borja in their official Facebook page and Twitter handle @atleticokolkata, both of which will be officially unveiled tomorrow.
"Welcome to #kolkata @BorjaFF We r sure you will fall in love with the city," read a tweet.
Having started out with first team appearances at the high profile Real Madrid from 2003-05, Borja went on to play for Mallorca, Real Valladolid and Getafe in two spells either side of a season with Deportivo La Coruna.
There is also speculation that Botswana midfielder Ofentse Nato will feature for Atletico de Kolkata. Nato has played under Habas at Wits.
Atletico de Kolkata is owned by Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd. A heavyweight consortium of former India captain Sourav Ganguly, Utsav Parekh of SMIFS Capital Markets Ltd, Sanjiv Goenka of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, Harshavardhan Neotia of Ambuja Neotia Group and their Spanish counterparts and La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
As per the ISL guidelines, each of the eight franchises will have one marquee player, seven international players and 14 domestic recruits, apart from a marquee manager.
If a franchise fails to bring the players or coach on their own, the IMG-Reliance will supply from its pool in Major League Soccer style Players Draft System.
Supported by the All India Football Federation, the tournament is co-promoted by the IMG-Reliance and Star India and is tentatively scheduled to be held from September 19 to November 30.