Krishna had signed on a one-year deal initially with the Kolkata giants when he had signed last year, but on the back of his performances, ATK-Mohun Bagan were always keen on offering him an improved deal that would see the 32-year-old keep his role in Antonio Lopes Habas’ side.
He arrived in India after a record-breaking season in the A-League
with Wellington Phoenix where he scored 19 goals in 27 games. The Fijian
was then lured to the ISL by ATK and he did not disappoint in his first
Krishna got off the mark with a goal against Hyderabad FC in what was only his second match for ATK, and thereafter, it became a familiar sight. Despite a minor injury problem, he finished with 15 goals, the highest in the league alongside Nerijus Valskis and Bartholomew Ogbeche, and six assists from 21 games. The highlight was when he scored a hattrick against Odisha FC to help ATK seal a playoff berth.
That goal-scoring streak has paid off and even though the speed of
his acceleration into the ISL was expected, his high standards prompted
figures within the club to speculate that he would be the one to lead
the charge at the AFC Cup campaign next season.
Krishna is from Fiji and holds a New Zealand passport but he has
roots in India. His ancestors had sailed off to the south-pacific
archipelago about 140 years back and signing for ATK was something like a
homecoming for him. He has publicly expressed his burning desire to
play for the city many times before and by extending his stay with the
club, he has quashed all speculations surfacing about him leaving.
Indeed, for quite a few weeks now, the rumour mills have been going
on about Krishna and his future destination. There were reports of him
stalling ATK-MB’s deal and considering other offers within the ISL. In
fact, there were strong links with City Football Group (CFG) backed
Mumbai City FC and East Bengal. However, the club itself was always
confident that their star forward would stay put.
ATK-MB embark on a new journey come next season, playing as a singular entity in the ISL, and another good run in the league as well as the Asian challenge is what they will be looking at. Securing Roy Krishna, along with other key foreign stars will surely be a big boost for Habas and his team.