Last season’s I-League runners-up East Bengal have completed their first signing for the season. NEROCA midfielder Tondomba Naorem Singh will be joining the Red and Golds on a four-year deal, the club said in a statement on Thursday.
Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez, who helped the club finish in the second position in the 2018-19 I-League, just a point behind eventual champions Chennai City FC, wants to focus on the young players. Naorem’s arrival clearly shows his vision ahead of the next season.
“The hardworking medio had a strong season with NEROCA FC. In line with Head Coach Alejandro Menendez’s special eye for young talent and in line with the long term vision of QEBFC, Tondomba joins QEBFC on a permanent transfer for a period of 4 years,” the statement read.
“Tondomba looks forward to further develop himself in QEBFC and help the Club win more silverware and accolades,” it added.
The 21-year-old hails from Tentha, a small village in Thoubal district in Manipur. The midfielder started playing football at very early, like all other children from his state.
He joined Shillong Lajong Youth Academy and played for them in the youth level. After that, he returned to his state and represented NEROCA’s U-18 team. He left for Manipur State League side KLASA before returning to the senior team of NEROCA.
The midfielder played a pivotal in NEROCA’s campaign last year. His creativity in the midfield, passing ability and wing-play suited to the style of their former coach Manuel Retamero Fraile. NEROCA went down in their first match against East Bengal in 2018-19 but Tondomba’s performance caught the attention of Menendez.
Menendez’s side lacked creativity in the midfield last season. They often started beautifully but lost the plot in the midfield. The arrival of Jaime Santos Colado solved the problem but by then half of their season was already over.
Menendez, who is in Spain, doesn’t want to left a single stone unturned this time. East Bengal have already renewed contract with Borja Gomez Perez, Brandon Vanlalremdika and Lalrindika Ralte and are in talks with some players.
The Red and Golds are looking to fill two positions, a striker and a defender. Jobby Justin has already left for ATK and World Cupper Johnny Acosta has already left.
One can be sure that in the coming days, there are more surprises to came.