All set to play in ATK Mohun Bagan colours, promising forward Colaco speaks of trophy ambitions
The 2020-21 season proved great for young forward Liston Colaco. He had a solid season with Hyderabad FC in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL). He was so impressive (with two goals and three assists) in the Telangana-based club’s fifth-place finish that national coach Igor Stimac handed him his India debut in late March earlier this year against the United Arab Emirates in Dubai. Then in a surprise move, he joined 2020-21 Hero ISL finalists ATK Mohun Bagan in April. Recently, the 22-year-old spoke to indiansuperleague.com and discussed a variety of topics, like his signing for the Mariners, his ambitions there under head coach Antonio Lopez Habas, the prospect of playing alongside big stars like Hugo Boumous & Joni Kauko and the experience of his international debut, among many others. Here is the interview in full.
Your joining ATK Mohun Bagan surprised many. After all, you had a great season with HFC. What led to that move?
Firstly, thank you for your kind words, it would have been really good to qualify for the top-4 and I will always be thankful to HFC for their support. ATK Mohun Bagan is the most ambitious club in the Hero ISL. I met with the management with my agent in New Delhi after returning from the national camp in March-end and after listening to their plans, it was not a difficult decision. I cannot wait to walk through the tunnel wearing the famous Green and Maroon jersey of ATK Mohun Bagan and play in front of thousands of ATK Mohun Bagan fans.
Kolkata is a football-mad city like Goa. Footballers have to handle a lot of pressure throughout the season. Is it going to be a big challenge for you?
Challenges only motivate me. The passion of Kolkata fans was one of the reasons that got me excited about this move. Hopefully, I can make them happy.
How about the opportunity to play with players like Hugo Boumous and Joni Kauko?
They are top quality players. We all have seen what Hugo can do and now Joni Kauko, who has just come from the Euros. Can’t describe in words how amazing it's going to be, to share the same dressing room with such players. Hope to learn a lot of things from them.
How about playing under Antonio Lopez Habas? Do you think it can be your dream season?
Yes, I am really looking forward to it, I want to work really hard and give my 100% and help my team win trophies and that’s what my dream is.
As ATK Mohun Bagan are building a powerful team for 2021-22, do you think they can win both the league shield and the trophy?
Yes, ATK Mohun Bagan has always been a very ambitious team. We want to win, no matter what league/tournament we play in. We want to put up a good show for everyone. Our target is to do well in the AFC Cup (starting next month) and then in the Hero ISL and win the cup.
You also made your India debut earlier in the year against the UAE in Dubai. Describe the feeling… Also, how different was it from club football?
The feeling was surreal. It’s every footballer's dream to represent his country. I was very happy and it was a really proud moment for me. It was very different from club football. I have been playing club football for many years now and this was my first time representing the country and we get to play a lot of club matches, whereas there are limited international matches. So, taking part in international matches is a different experience altogether.
How have you been preparing for the AFC Cup which is not far from kick-off?
I have been working hard and taking care of my routine and diet. Will be joining the pre-season soon and I am really looking forward to it.