After facing China in an international friendly, the Indian national football team will go up against Jordan at the King Abdullah II International Stadium on 17th November. In less than a week, we will witness history when the senior teams of both the countries will face each other in a first-ever international friendly between the nations.
Stephen Constantine and his staff have announced the 30-man preliminary squad to face the middle eastern nation. While the squad includes a lot of regular names like Gurpreet Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan, Jeje Lalpekhlua but surprisingly, it includes only one player from the I-League.
With the commercial success of Indian Super League, most of the top players have moved to the cash-rich league. But, as in many other countries, a dearth of young talent is still hidden, waiting to be discovered in the less successful lower tiers.
Lalchhawnkima has had a mysterious career graph in which he has played for numerous ISL and I-League clubs. Before the start of the 18-19 season, Mohun Bagan came in for his services after their players Kinshuk Debnath and Arnab Mondal were snapped up by cross-town rivals ATK and East Bengal respectively.
The Mizoram-born defender has seamlessly slotted into the Mohun Bagan starting XI forming a centre-back partnership with Kingsley. They have kept 1 clean sheet in 3 matches so far. Also, he has already opened his goal-scoring account for Mohun Bagan against his former club Aizawl FC.
If the 27-year old was part of a big ISL club, he would have been part of that 30-man preliminary squad to face Jordan.
#2 Manoj Mohammad
Manoj Mohammad was promoted from the East Bengal academy to the first team before the start of the 18-19 season. After impressing in the Calcutta Football League, surprisingly, Manoj started East Bengal's first match against NEROCA.
Manoj was instrumental in helping his team keep a clean sheet on his I-League debut. The 19-year old provided a goal-line clearance in the 22nd minute of the match. Also, he played a pivotal role in the first goal as his long-throw was misjudged by NEROCA defensive unit and East Bengal's Enrique Esqueda scored the goal.
The 19-year old is just starting out, the whole nation will be pinning their hopes on him becoming a world-class defender.