Kauko: The only goal this season will be to win the championship for ATK Mohun Bagan
ATK Mohun Bagan’s bumper signing, Joni Kauko has made it clear that he will be eyeing nothing less than the championship win for the Mariners when the next season of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) gets underway later this year.
The central midfielder from Finland joined the Kolkata giants last month shortly after his national team exited Euro 2020. He featured in all three games in their group. Last season in the Hero ISL, Antonio Lopez Habas’ men fell just short of winning the League Shield as well as the Hero ISL trophy. Kauko doesn’t want a repeat of that.
“The only goal this season will be to win the championship. That’s the main thing. I think that’s one of the reasons… I can be one of those guys who helps bring the trophy home,” the Finn said on the latest episode of Football United.
The 30-year-old revealed as to what lured him to one of the biggest clubs in India. “Ever since I was a little boy, I was kind of someone who wanted to experience different kinds of things. Since I got older, I started a little bit of travelling around the globe. I was always keen on learning about new cultures, new languages, meeting new people. That was one of the biggest reasons. And after I heard, ATK Mohun Bagan were interested, we started to negotiate. Then I realised it was going to happen,” he said.
“Everything is looking good. I am really excited to join the club. New culture, new things. I think I will get used to it in time.”
Kauko is also looking forward to the renowned Kolkata derby. Last season, ATK Mohun Bagan won both the derbies convincingly against SC East Bengal. “I have heard about it. It’s the same in Finland. We have two teams from the same town. So, I am used to this rivalry. Those are the best games to play, there is always something special. There is a lot of tension between fans, between players. Positions on the table don’t matter. It’s always a new game. Anything can happen in those games. I am really excited as to what is going to happen,” he said.
Kauko’s acquisition is considered one of the biggest in Indian football. When asked if it was something putting him under pressure, he nonchalantly replied: “I don’t really care about that so much. It is what it is. If somebody sees it that way, I am cool with that. No problem for me.”
Finally, Kauko, who acknowledged that he thrives on fans’ support, left a message for the ATK Mohun Bagan faithful. “I appreciate their messages [on social media]. There were quite a few of them, sorry I could not reply to all of them. I hope everyone knows I am reading all those messages. I really respect that, it’s unbelievable. I have always been that kind of guy who gets a lot of energy and power from fans. It’s really important that the feeling is good in the stadium. Can’t wait to see how it is now,” he said.