ISL 2016: Main goal is to be in the semi-finals at the end of the season, says Sameehg Doutie
Sameehg Doutie, the dynamic Atletico de Kolkata winger, had been facing criticism regarding his form in the opening weeks of the third season of the ISL but he has answered back in style in the last two games for his club, scoring one goal and winning a penalty as ATK finally registered their first win on home soil this year.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Delhi game, the South African was in a light mood, as he responded to a large set of questions ranging from Kolkata’s tendency to lose leads to his future plans.
“There are a lot of strong teams in the league and we are fighting hard to earn points. The main goal is not now, it is to be in the top 4 at the end of the season, that is the semi-finals.”
The 27-year-old is, of course, right in his assessment but ATK have more than once dropped points despite scoring the first goal. They have had also problems in finding the back of the net, and Helder Postiga’s continued absence hasn’t really helped either.
“Postiga is a Portuguese international and has played at the highest level, and you can see by the way he talks to the players that he is a leader. We will definitely get better if he comes back.”
However, Doutie stressed on the fact that football is a team game and stressed on the fact that both Indian and international players are valuable to the squad. That mentality was evident in the win against Delhi after ATK held on to despite going a man down.
“We need to keep working and keep believing and keep being positive. The league is close and there are a lot of points to play for.”
Want to do our best under Molina
Reflecting on his experiences under Antonio Habas and Jose Molina, the footballer said that they are different types of coaches but there are a few similarities as well, since they are both Spanish. However, both of them want to win at any cost, and that rubs on the players as well.
“We can’t comment on Habas and Pune, they have moved on and so have we. We are all happy to play under Molina, and we want to do our best.”
Doutie also seemed very optimistic about the future of the league and even the proposed merger of the I-League and ISL. “The Indian players are getting better and better, and the youth football needs to improve as well. They are progressing very fast, and it will be best if the league is run according to the FIFA Calendar. The league can be the start of great things in India, and we can have better Indian players coming up and do well in the AFC Champions League.”
He also added that he believes the local players can be good enough to play in the South African premier league, but they need to grasp every opportunity that they get.
Atletico are currently in second place on the table and a win against Mumbai City will take them to the top. With Mumbai only a point behind Kolkata, this just might turn out to be a playoff six-pointer.