I-League 2018-19: Shillong Lajong relegated - 7 gifts to Indian Football from the Meghalaya side
After eight colourful years in the top flight of Indian football, Shillong Lajong FC were relegated to the Second Division League after a disappointing 1-4 loss to local rivals Aizawl FC on Monday. Though they have one game in hand, there is no chance that they can improve their 11th position on the table.
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Shillong Lajong were the first club from the NorthEast region of India to rise to prominence in the country. Though Aizawl FC caught most of the attention after their I-League title in 2016, it was Lajong who were the torch-bearers of northeastern football for a large part of the decade.
Lajong, who had produced credible performances all these seasons, decided to play with an all-Indian squad, mainly the academy boys, in this year’s I-League. The move never worked for them as the inexperienced boys were no match against superior teams like Chennai City and East Bengal.
From the third match itself, Lajong were pushed to the bottom place on the table and never recovered from that stage. As of now, they have only 11 points from 19 matches, conceding an astounding 53 goals in the process.
But one should not forget the talented players that Lajong have produced over the years. Sportskeeda lists out seven players who have made a name for themselves:
#7 Samuel Lalmuanpuia
One of the most famous footballers to stay with Shillong Lajong this season is definitely Samuel Lalmuanpuia. He got the captain’s armband in the previous season and became the second youngest leader of any I-League side after Amarjit Singh Kiyam of India Arrows.
Shillong Lajong decided to retain him as the captain of the side this season. Being the leader of a young team, Samuel led from the front and scored three goals for his team and provided an assist in the 18 matches that he played so far.
After spending more than six years at the Chandigarh Football Academy where he learned the tricks of the game, Samuel joined Lajong as a youth team player. He played in the Under-19 I-League for Lajong before moving to the senior side in 2016.
After producing brilliant performances throughout the season, Samuel was awarded the Best Emerging Player’ of I-League last season. Despite several offers from Indian Super League sides, Samuel decided to stay with Lajong.
But as Lajong have now relegated, the player might find a new home in next season but Lajong deserve to take credit for making him a great player.