ISL 2019: It was time to get out of my comfort zone before moving to ATK, says former A-League star Roy Krishna
ATK arguably pulled-off one of the biggest signings this year by roping in Fijian striker Roy Krishna. In the previous season, the player represented New Zealand outfit Wellington Phoenix FC which competes in the A-League.
The prolific striker has played most of his professional career in New Zealand, making his senior debut for Waitakere United in 2003, subsequently moving to Auckland City FC and finally to Wellington Pheonix FC. He is also the captain of the Fiji national team with 35 caps to his name.
“I’m so excited to be coming to Kolkata soon and to hit the ground running. I hope to get the support from the team as we gear up for an exciting season. I look forward to meeting everyone,” said an upbeat Krishna who is gearing up for his maiden stint in India.
Roy’s inclusion will be a boost for the two-time champions after the lacklustre display in the previous season which saw them finish in sixth place in the standings. Moreover, the attacking line that didn't fire last season will get be boosted by the services of Roy at their disposal. Sportskeeda managed to catch up with the footballer for an interview where he shared his views about his new venture in Indian football.
In an attempt to get out of his comfort zone and welcome new challenges in his illustrious career, he opted to sign for the Kolkata-based club. “It was time for me to get out of my comfort zone and explore another league after I had spent five years in the A-League. I’ve always had a strong connection to India as our forefathers came to Fiji from India,” began Krishna.
He added, “When ATK approached me, it was around the time the country was preparing for the memorial of the arrival of the first Indians to Fiji about 140 years ago. I felt that it was a sign that a team from Kolkata, where my ancestors left from, reached out to me.” Roy hails from Labasa, a town located in the Macuata Province, one of Fiji’s fourteen Provinces.
Even though there is a vast difference in the pace and quality in the A-League, Roy feels his playing experience in Fiji will help him adapt in the Indian football circuit since the playing style is somewhat similar. Shedding further light on the matter, he said, “I’ve played football in Fiji and New Zealand/Australia and both of them are different in terms of pace with the latter being faster.”
“I feel that India would be similar to Fiji and I’m happy to adjust to the style of play. Obviously, India is ranked higher than Fiji in terms of FIFA rankings but I feel that the style is similar so it would be easy to adapt,” concluded the Fijian.
Having a fair idea about the ‘football crazy’ city of Kolkata, Roy says that he is “looking forward to being pleasantly surprised.” The footballer was approached by Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven back in 2009. But he prolonged his stay in New Zealand because he was not ready to migrate to Europe at that point in time.
In an interesting revelation, it was inferred that the footballer has actually followed a great deal of Indian football in the past few years. “I have followed the league and watched video footage of the games over the past few years. I can see that ISL is growing and I want to be part of something that has the potential to grow and become something bigger. I was to be able to help create history not only for the club but also for the league itself,” addressed the former Oceania Champions League winner.
Roy Krishna has been a ‘fox in the box’ throughout his career and his statistics speak highly of his skills. The striker won the Golden Boot in the 2018-19 A-League, scoring a total of 18 times for Wellington Phoenix FC. He expects to re-create a similar feat in the Indian Super League. In fact, ATK's players managed to get their names on the scoresheet just 18 times in the entire ISL, which is quite poor going by their standards. The arrival of Roy will be a huge relief to the squad ahead of the new season.
When enquired about his personal goals with ATK, Roy remarked, “It’s always my goal to do the best and perform better every time I take the field. I’m going to give my all to create magic with the team, score and assist goals and win. My heart is set on winning and I’m looking forward to working with the coach and players.” As per reports, ATK has also signed Roy’s fellow Wellington Phoenix FC teammate David Williams. He is a former Australian international player who started his club career with Brisbane Roar Football Club in 2006.
The transition from the A-League to the Indian Super League will be tricky, but Roy admitted that he is ready for the challenge. “I’m coming with an open mind and I’m ready for the challenge. I’m willing to learn and adapt to the style of football in India,” he said. Players like Bartholomew Ogbeche, Modou Sougou and Ferran Corominhas also migrated from foreign lands, but they have delivered for their respective clubs. The onus will be on Roy Krishna to prove himself in a new domain and steer his team their third ever domestic title.