Krishna heading to India

Roy Krishna. Photo: Getty Images
Roy Krishna. Photo: Getty Images
Roy Krishna will ply his footballing trade next year in India.

The former Wellington Phoenix striker confirmed on Tuesday he has signed a one year deal with India Super League club ATK, based in Kolkata.

Previous reports had linked Krishna with a move to South Korea but they have proved to be incorrect.

Krishna, who was honoured with the Johnny Warren medal as the best player in the A League last season and also picked up the golden boot award with 18 goals, decided last month to leave the Phoenix for a new challenge and greater financial security for his family.

"I have taken my time to make what I feel is the right decision for me and my family," said Krishna, who spent five and a half seasons at the Wellington club. "ATK presents a great new opportunity for me in a new league."

The 32-year-old said he was impressed with what he had seen and heard about the club, its culture and its fan base .

ATK was one of the foundation clubs of the Indian Super League, which was set up in 2014 and modelled on cricket's Indian Premier League.

For the first three seasons the club was known as Athletico de Kolkata, due to a partnership with La Liga club Athletic Madrid, but that association has ended.

ATK, which has former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly as one of it's owners, has won the ISL trophy twice.

Former Liverpool Champions League winner and Spanish midfielder Luis Garcia was their inaugural marquee player in their first season, and their roster also included former Spurs and Ireland striker Robbie Keane at one stage.

Teddy Sheringham had a stint as coach at the start of the 2017-18 season, but it was brief due to lack of success.

The ISL, with 16 franchises is the second professional league in India, after the 11-team I-League, which was established in 2007.

Krishna will play in front of considerably bigger crowds in Kolkata than he did in Australasia. The club boasts a record crowd of 65,000, and averaged almost 18,000 per game last season, with a high of 41,000.

But the standard of play is likely to be inferior to the A League, though standards have improved in India over the last five years.

"140 years ago our forefathers left Kolkata on board the Leonidas in search of new opportunities in Fiji," said Krishna. "I feel like we've come full circle as I head back to where it all began for them."

ATK coach Antonio Lopez Habas has welcomed the Fijian's signing.

"Roy Krishna is our first international striker signing of the season. He is a prolific striker with leadership skills under his belt. He will add attack and variety to the team and his confidence will give an edge. I am very happy to have him at ATK."

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