Nagaland midfielder Ratobe Poireng has signed for Swedish sixth-division club Lila Torg FF. The team currently sits on the fourth spot of the Hallands FF Division 4 Southwest region with 26 points from 15 matches.
Speaking to the daily Nagaland Post just before penning the deal in the city of Malmo in Sweden, Poireng expressed his eagerness to play in Europe. "I am so happy that I am the first Naga to join a European football club and I thank God for hearing my prayer. I really can't wait to play with my new team."
The 23-year-old underwent a one-month tryout after which Lila Torg FF offered him a contract. Poireng also trained at the Bundesliga side Hannover 96's facility in March to improve his fitness levels and conditioning.
Having previously played for local clubs in Northeastern states of India like Barak FC Peren and Guwahati Town club, the Dimapur native becomes another Indian player to try his luck in the lower divisions of Europe.
Sahil Tavora played for Portuguese fourth division club GDSC Alvarenga last season whereas Abneet Bharti ended his tenure with Portuguese third division club Sintrense in December.
A lot of Indian players have trained in the academies of foreign countries before emerging as a prominent name in Indian football. Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandes, and Ashique Kuruniyan are the most notable ones, having trained in UAE, South Africa, and Spain respectively.
Others like Myron Mendes (South Africa), Deependra Singh Negi (Spain), and Kean Lewis (USA) will be in action in I-League and Indian Super League for their clubs Gokulam Kerala, Kerala Blasters, and Bengaluru FC respectively.Published 15 Aug 2019, 12:30 IST