Mbatha relishing 'different' ISL experience
Posted: 8 March 2018 Time: 17:49
Former junior international midfielder Sibongakonke Mbatha is enjoying his time out in India, and has shared his thoughts on the whole experience thus far.
Mbatha last month completed a loan move from Bidvest Wits to Indian Super League side ATK (formerly Atletico de Kolkata), with their window having only closed on February 15.
Since his arrival, the 20-year-old attacker has featured three times for his new side, managing a goal on debut as well as two 'Fittest Player of the Match' awards.
“So far so good, I’m enjoying myself here. The guys have welcomed me warmly, and I’m getting to know their names,” Mbatha tells KickOff.com from Kolkata.
“The football, in terms of professionalism, they’ve got it. It’s high quality from the warm-ups, to the training sessions and of course to the games.
“In quality of the football, I think, is quite different to that in South Africa but nonetheless, they’ve got good facilities in terms of the stadiums, pitches, and even the crowds.”
With many still looking down upon the Indian league, which only still in its infancy stage having started in October 2013, Mbatha believes people will see it differently if they experienced it up close.
“They started [the ISL] just over four years back, and up to now they’ve really invested a lot and done a good job in growing the league,” he says.
“As I’ve said, the facilities, professionalism and the way they handle the players here is very different to back home, and it’s high quality.
“If people were to come here, perhaps just for a week, to see things for themselves then they’ll realise it’s top-notch. It’s just obviously the quality of football that is different.”
ATK will next be in action in the Indian Super Cup – the premier knockout competition in India – when they enter the play-off stages after finishing second from bottom in the league.
They face Chennai City on March 16 for a place in the round of 16.