Aizawl FC’s I-League Title winning Team- Where Are 13 of the Key Players Now?
No Aizawl Fc fan will ever forget the 2016/17 season as their team famously defied the steepest of odds to win the premier football competition of the country. Aizawl FC's triumph was an astounding sporting story - a small team from Mizoram, operating on a modest budget, among the lowest in the league, slaying much-fancied opponents.
Aizwal Fc’s fascinating fairytale story caught the attention of renowned producer, Tarun Rathi who decided to make a Bollywood movie on the club's remarkable campaign.
“The historic win of top league of the country by the unknown, low-budget club of Aizawl FC deserves worldwide recognition and visibility.
“Together with Aizawl FC, we can go a long way in serving the people of Mizoram and northeast through the said Bollywood film. We will start the work soon,” Rathi was quoted in Hindustan Times.
From reel - life to real life heroes- so what happened to the heroes that captured the crown in 2016/17? Let’s a look at where the players are now.
#1 Albino Gomes
The Goan shot-stopper joined Aizawl Fc on loan from Mumbai City for the 2016/17 season. Gomes played a starring role in the Mizoram outfit's title run and Delhi Dynamos wasted no time in picking him when the draft took place for the 2017-18 season of Indian Super League. Gomes is still with Delhi Dynamos but finding it hard to impose himself as a first-team player under Coach Josep Gombau.
#2 Kingsley Obumneme
The Nigerian center-back was the rock in defense in Aizawl's title-winning season. He left Aizawl to sign for Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan next season, where he remains. Kingsley has brought much-needed stability to the Mariners defense as he did at Aizawl FC.
#3 Zohmingliana Ralte
Formed a rock-solid partnership with Kingsley in the title-winning season. He will long be revered in Mizo folklore for scoring the all-important headed goal against mighty Mohun Bagan, leading his side to a 1-0 win.
At the end of the campaign, Ralte found a new home with ISL debutant Bengaluru FC. The defender spent just a single season with Bengaluru FC before moving to Chennainyin Fc the following year on a two-year deal.
The diminutive Mizo defender was one of the standout performers of Khalid Jameel's side. After a spending two seasons with Aizawl where he started his professional career, Chullova moved to East Bengal- a club he currently plays for.
Another exciting youngster that helped Aizawl to glory during the 2016/17 season. Lalruatthara’s versatility, good positioning, and his perfectly-timed tackles caught the attention of Kerala Blasters as they signed him for the 2017-18 season. His stellar performances lead the club to offer him a contract extension, which would see the defender stay at the club until the end of 2020-21 season.
#6 Ashutosh Mehta
When Jamil took charge of Aizawl FC, he reached out to his favorite protégé. On loan from Mumbai City, Mehta became a regular in the team. But the lanky defender from 'Amchi Mumbai' left after just one season, making 16 appearances.
One season at ATK followed before a move to Pune to join FC Pune City, where he currently finds himself.
#7 Mahmoud Al Amnah
Amnah was an important player in Aizawl’s title-winning side. One of Aizawl's best players, Amnah was a wonderful attacking player. Like many players, the attacking midfielder left the following season after winning the I-League. He is currently playing for Kolkata giants East Bengal.
At 35, Amnah has made 51 appearances for his country, Syria.
#8 Alfred Jaryan
The Liberian was a key part of Aizawl's midfield during the 2016-17 season, being awarded the I-League Midfielder of the Year Award. Following his impressive I-league campaign with Aizawl FC, Jaryan was called up to the national squad for the African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Zimbabwe.
Still at Aizawl, where he is highly respected for his work-rate and quality.
#9 Jayesh Rane
Featured in all 18 games, Rane proved to be a true masterstroke of a loan deal from Chennaiyin FC. His influence was fantastic during his one year at the club, as he earned a move to ISL side ATK the following season.
He signed a contract extension on 20 March 2018 with ATK.
# 10 Laldanmawia Ralte
Aizawl’s title win seemed to enhance Ralte’s career. Ralte left at the end of the title-winning season to join East Bengal on a two-year contract.
In June 2018, he made his senior international debut against Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup.
#11 Kamo Stephane Bayi
The main man. The Ivorian striker scored seven goals in Aizawl's title-winning season but left that summer for Mohun Bagan. The Mariners released him and Kamo moved to I-League new entrants Gokulam Kerala.
The 28-year-old now finds himself in the second-tier of Indian football, playing for Calcutta Premier side, Tollygunge Agragami.
#12 Brandon Vanlalremdika
The Mizo winger made his professional debut for Aizawl against Mohun Bagan. After spending two seasons with Aizwal, Brandon left the club for newer challenges. He moved to East Bengal in 2017, where he remains.
#13 Albert Zohmingmawia
Joined Aizawl in the summer of 2016, but only played eight games in the title-winning season. Still, with Aizwal, the midfielder has become a regular in Aizwal team's roster.