He could leave next season
Ofentse Nato has overcame a turbulent season by winning a historic second Indian Super League title with Atletico de Kolkata this past weekend. His side defeated Kerala Blasters 4-3 on penalties in the 2016 ISL final. Nato and his teammate Borja Fernandes are now the most successful players in the history of the competition after earning their second winner’s medals.
Nato has been in and out of the team this season, owing to an injury and limited first team chances. He has been slowly working his way into Jose Fransisco Molina’s first team plans and became a useful member of the squad during the post season playoffs.
This season the Zebras vice captain made his lowest appearance tally of his ISL tenure but made up for it with another title victory. It remains to be seen if Nato will be retained by the club next season, the club has parted ways with important players before as they let top scorer Fikru Tefera join a rival club last year.
Molina appears to have a tried and tested line up that has served him well this season and it could be difficult for him to change a winning team, a possibility that could prompt Nato to seek first team opportunities elsewhere if he is not used frequently. The Spanish coach appears to favour Fernandes and Stephen Pearson as his midfield pairing, leaving Nato as an impact player; a challenge he has never faced in his career.
Nato’s agent, Paul Mitchell, is actively seeking another club for his client in the January transfer window but ruled out a return to Botswana. A return to the ABSA Premier Soccer League looks likely as his agent is based in South Africa with numerous connections in the league.
Nato has already cemented his place as the best African player to ever play in the Indian competition and he remains the only Motswana to win league titles in Asia.
Nato’s ISL record
Games played: 31
Games won: 20
Titles won: 2
• Longest serving African player (31 games)
• Joint most successful ISL player (2 league titles)