Called for national duty, Fijian striker Roy Krishna will not be available for the playoffs and final of the Indian Super League (ISL) should ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) make it. After Tuesday’s 2-0 win against FC Goa, ATKMB moved to 29 points from 15 games, the same as leaders Hyderabad FC who have played a game more.
The latest Krishna can be available is March 7 when ATKMB play Jamshedpur FC in the last game of the league phase. “He will join us on March 8,” Mohammed Yusuf, CEO Fiji Football Association, told HT on Tuesday. Yusuf said ATKMB have been informed.
“Blessed to be given the opportunity to fly the Fijian flag again,” Krishna said on Twitter on Monday. Named captain for the Oceania qualifiers of the 2022 World Cup, the 34-year-old will join the squad in Doha on March 8, said Yusuf.
Due to Covid-19, the qualifiers are being held in Doha from March 17. Fiji open against New Caledonia on March 18, play New Zealand on March 21 and Papua New Guinea on March 24.
The dates for the ISL semi-finals and final are likely to be announced on Wednesday. But it will end earlier than March 24 because India are scheduled to play two friendlies in Manama, Bahrain, on March 23 and 26. Last season, the ISL final was on March 13. In 2020-21, it was on March 14.
In 10 ISL games this term, Krishna has four goals and four assists. He has not played because of injury since being replaced in the 60th minute against Odisha FC on January 23. Krishna was on the bench against SC East Bengal but has been left out of games against Mumbai City FC, Hyderabad FC, NorthEast United and on Tuesday.
In 44 ISL games over seasons since joining ATK from A-League team Wellington Phoenix in 2019-20, Krishna has 29 goals and 15 assists. He was adjudged player of the ISL in 2020-21.
Having not played for 18 days in January because Covid-19 had breached their bio-secure bubble, ATKMB have to play their last six games in 20 days. Keeping players fit and fresh is going to be a “good challenge” for the medical staff, head coach Juan Ferrando has said. Due to injuries, ATKMB could start with only two foreigners, Tiri in central defence and Joni Kauko in midfield, on Tuesday.
In a game that saw a first-half stoppage due to floodlight failure, Manvir Singh struck in the third minute with a glancing header off a Liston Colaco corner. He scored another 14 seconds into the second half after Lenny Rodrigues snatched in midfield and sent Singh on his way.