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Antonio López: "We’re calm and ready to face the challenge of the Super League"

Atlético de Kolkata begins the Indian Super League this Sunday, October 12th against Mumbai City FC at home in Salt Lake Stadium. The coach, Antonio López Habas, is excited.

T. Calvo / PHOTO: A. Gutiérrez

Antonio López Habas (Pozoblanco, Córdoba, 28/05/1957) accumulates an enormous coaching experience, both in Spain and outside our country. He is a coaching pioneer when it comes to coaching beyond our borders. He did it in the Bolivian Bolívar in two stages (1994-95 and 2000-01). In between them, he was the coach of Bolivia’s national team from 1995 to 1997. He also led two teams in South Africa, the Mamelodi Sundows (2009-2011) and the Bidwest Wits (2011-2013). In Spain, he has coached Atlético B, Las Rozas, Aranjuez, Lleida, Sporting de Gijon, Valencia, Tenerife, and Celta. After being in charge of the farm team at the Sports City last season, he has taken the challenge of being the coach of Atlético de Kolkata, our Indian franchise, to lead the red and white team in the Indian Super League. 

The coach indicated that Atlético de Kolkata’s pre-season in Los Ángeles de San Rafael, "served us fundamentally to establish the group because none of the players had been together on the same team and I believe we largely achieved this. The 48 training sessions we completed in Segovia will allow us to get to the competition with most of the workload done."

Regarding the goals of the team, "we need to go match-by-match. We don't know our rivals and all the teams are in the same scenario, with new teams, new coaches and as a result, the day-by-day and match-by-match is more important."

When asked about what the Spanish players can contribute to this project, he said, "mainly, the knowledge of professional football and top level competition. Here, the players are not used to the way we train, the high intensity, and the top level competition. The Spanish players can pave the way and we can take advantage of their quality and their football level."

He recalled the motto of Luis Aragonés which was also picked up by Diego Pablo Simeone: "win, win, and win again." Antonio López explained, "I was fortunate to have a coach like Luis Aragonés and there is no other way to understand football. In all the Clubs I've played with, you always had to try to win. We hope to leave the Atlético de Madrid brand in Asia at the height it deserves."

Antonio López is already thinking about the debut at home in Salt Lake Stadium against Mumbai City FC. He said, "we’re thrilled to make our debut at home, in front of 120.000 spectators. We’re calm and ready to face the challenge of this competition that awaits us, the Super League."