Former Mohun Bagan striker Jose Barreto said that Mohun Bagan’s merger with Indian Super League champions ATK will set a precedent for other I-League teams to join India’s top tier league. The Brazilian believes it could be a normal trend in the future.
“See, it is something we didn’t plan at the beginning of ISL to be the way we joined the league. This is a first in ISL but this could set a precedent for I-League clubs to get into the ISL. At the beginning, there was a lot of chatter from all sorts of quarters. Everyone had their own opinion but with time, you take a look and say, wow, this is really normal,” Barreto said a press release by ISL.
When questioned about the possibility of arch-rivals East Bengal following Mohun Bagan into the ISL, Baretto said the Red & Golds’ entry will offer a lot to the league.
“See, Bagan and East Bengal are two giants. Surely East Bengal is also looking hard to come into the ISL. Probably, it is a question of time. There could be a time soon East Bengal comes into the ISL and it will be then interesting to see a derby,” he said.
“ATK Mohun Bagan versus East Bengal or maybe East Bengal too could have another name and join in with another ISL club, who knows. This will bring a lot for the league. Just keeping hope and keeping the faith, it is possible.”
Baretto was relieved that the Mariners’s iconic green and maroon jersey and logo have been retained as they prepare to play in the ISL and the AFC Cup. Barreto said the change in name will not have a negative impact on the fans of the celebrated club.
“Feeling relieved about the logo and the colours of the shirt are there. I don’t think so the name ATK will affect it in any way. The logo and the colours are something that we fans are emotional about,” he said.
“You can’t imagine a Mohun Bagan fan putting the green and maroon shirt away and calling any other colour the club shirt. It would be difficult for them.”
A prolific striker of his time, Baretto was satisfied with Mohun Bagan’s entry into ISL.
“It has been a long story. Since 2014-’15, all the supporters of Mohun Bagan have been dreaming to be part of it. Finally, it has become a reality. The dream has come true for the supporters,” he said.
“It is a great feeling as an ex-Mohun Bagan star and as a Mohun Bagan fan. I am sure all the fans share my excitement as well.”