Joni Kauko, who played for Finland in Euro 2020, will soon be seen playing in the Green-Maroon jersey of ATK Mohun Bagan.
Finland midfielder Joni Kauku will be seen representing 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) finalists ATK Mohun Bagan, in the upcoming edition of the popular tournament. Kauku will be playing in the Green-Maroon jersey of the popular football team, after the Mariners signed an agreement with him on Thursday. The player was a part of the Finnish squad that finished third in their Euro 2020 group and exited the tournament.
Many star footballers have been a part of the ISL. However, it is rare for a footballer to sign a contract with an Indian club within three days of playing in the Euros. The central midfielder featured in all three games for Finland, helping them beat Denmark in their opener before losing to Russia and Belgium. There is no shame in losing to Belgium considering they are the world number one team in the FIFA rankings.
The 30-year-old played in four age groups before playing for the senior team of Finland. He played the last three seasons for Danish club Esbjerg, and also has several goals to his name in club football. ATK Mohun Bagan will be a part of the upcoming edition of the AFC Cup. Kauko will be available for the prestigious continental club competition. After the addition of Kauko, the strength of Antonio Lopez Habas’ midfield will definitely increase manifold.
“Hello Mariners. This is Joni Kauko. Greetings from Finland. I am really excited to join the historic club, ATK Mohun Bagan. I am looking forward to learning about the fascinating culture of India. So see you soon, Mariners. Take care,” read the message from Kauko after the deal was completed.
Manvir Singh was one of the top performers for the Kolkata-based franchise in the 2020-21 edition of the ISL. The 25-year-old forward was a constant attacking threat for the Mariners, making his presence felt with fine performances.
“It was a wonderful journey. I didn’t get regular game time at FC Goa but I used to have time here and there. It boosted my confidence. I realised the standards of the Hero ISL and how to perform. Then I signed for ATK Mohun Bagan and I grabbed that opportunity to give my 100%. I felt very proud of myself to score in my first derby. It’s like a festival for ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal fans. It feels great to perform in this match. I realised, if the start went well, the momentum will continue for the entire season. I came on and I scored,” he said as quoted by ISL’s official website.
Kauko will be expected to provide some quality support to Manvir, who will be looking to deliver the goods for the franchise in the upcoming season. Manvir has been tipped by many as a potential successor to India captain Sunil Chhetri.
“I just have to do my hard work to establish myself. Replacing Chhetri is a huge thing, he is a legend. I don’t want to compare myself with him. I have to showcase my own performances,” he said.
Consistency will certainly go a long way in adding credibility to such a viewpoint.