I-League 2017-18: East Bengal cite hilarious reason to put off talks with former ATK star
What’s the story?
Kolkata football giants East Bengal has cited a rather hysterical reason to reject the signing of Bostwana footballer Ofentse Nato. The Red and Gold brigade were amidst talks of roping in the former ATK footballer a couple of days, back but have now decided to pull the plug. Bengali publication Ebela.in has confirmed that the club officials decided against the move as the dates for the upcoming I-League season are yet to be confirmed.
In case you did not know
A two-time ISL winner with ATK, Nato began his professional career at Botswana’s local team Gaborone United. After a four-year stint with his native club, the defensive midfielder joined South African club Bidvest Wits in 2012.
27-year-old Nato made his foray into India football in 2014 in the inaugural ISL season. Eventually, Nato formed a solid partnership with Borja in ATK’s title-winning ISL campaign in 2014 and has been an integral cog of the team since then.
He has also donned the national outfit on 31 occasions, scoring thrice. Two of those goals came in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
The heart of the matter
Earlier last week, East Bengal confirmed the signing of their fourth foreigner in Yusa Katsumi for the upcoming I-League season. The Japanese will be joining the likes of Syrian international Mahmoud Al Amna in the Red and Golds midfield and thus Nato’s chances look even bleaker.
Had Nato joined, the biggest positive would have been that he is a proven player in Indian conditions and can also play in central defence. Also, his combination has been tested alongside East Bengal defender Arnab Mondal and would have provided an indestructible impetus if the club had joined forces with the player.
East Bengal are currently playing in Calcutta Football League (CFL) 2017 and have made a brilliant start to their campaign, winning all their five fixtures so far. Led by the I-League winning Khalid Jamil, the defending champions look evenly poised to seal the club's eighth straight CFL title.
East Bengal have been working to build a competitive side for the upcoming I-League season. The Red and Golds lost many players to the ISL draft pick and have their task cut out to bring in quality replacements. Thus, bringing in Nato would have bolstered their defense in their pursuit of winning the elusive national title.