ISL 2017/18: South African midfielder Sibongakonke Mbatha in talks with ATK
Defending champions ATK are said to be in talks with South Africa's Sibongakonke Mbatha in a bid to strengthen a midfield that has been depleted by injuries over the course of the ongoing ISL season.
The Kolkata-based side has been poor so far this season, managing just three wins, three draws and six defeats from their 12 matches so far.
These performances led to the sacking of former boss and ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United star Teddy Sheringham last month, with director of football Ashley Westwood taking over as the interim manager.
The Red and Whites have been able to score just eight goals from 12 matches this season, which has been worrisome, with regards to the creative impetus within the team. In order to bring in more creativity in the middle of the park, the defending champions are said to be eyeing Mbatha as a possible signing.
However, the Kolkata outfit has already filled its quota of eight foreign players and would need to drop one of them, in order to bring in Mbatha.
The 20-year-old had recently turned professional after he was signed from the Transnet School of Excellence by Bidwest Wits in January last year. He was subsequently sent out on a year-long loan to Platinum Stars.
Mbatha has made just seven appearances for the Platinum Stars so far this season, though, and a move away from the Phokeng-based club cannot be ruled out. It is understood that ATK are currently looking at a short-term deal, that would only last until the end of the season.
The Kolkata club is said to be offering the South African regular game time, in a league that will last until April. Should this move happen, Mbatha would become the second South African to play in the ISL after Sameehg Doutie, who had set the precedent in 2015, when he signed for ATK (then known as Atletico de Kolkata).