The seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) is going to start on the 20th of November. This year there will be 11 teams taking part in what is now India's top league.
With ATK and Mohun Bagan merging into one entity, which gave Mohun Bagan the chance to play ISL as ATK Mohun Bagan, the onus was on East Bengal to find an investor and play the ISL. While many believed it was almost impossible for East Bengal to play in the ISL this season, the club officials kept their hopes up.
The club management not only found Shree Cement as an investor, but they also managed to sign some good Indian players despite the uncertainty surrounding East Bengal's participation in the ISL.
One of those star players is midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Hailing from Shillong Meghalaya, Eugene, as he is popularly known, is one of those late bloomer stories in Indian football. Having dropped out of engineering college in his third year, Eugene became a professional footballer relatively late in his career.
It was his performance for Rangdajied United in the I-League that put him in the spotlight. It also enabled him to move to Bengaluru FC, the place where he showcased his magic in full force, paving his way into the Indian national team list.
Sportskeeda had an exclusive chat with Eugeneson Lyngdoh about this season's ISL and his new team, SC East Bengal.
Here are the excerpts:
Q: How does it feel to be a part of East Bengal in their maiden ISL season?
East Bengal have been the flagbearers of Indian football for the past century. They are, without a doubt, one of the biggest clubs in India. It is an honor for me to represent them in their maiden ISL season.
Q: You signed for East Bengal when they were still not confirmed for this season's ISL. Did you harbor any doubts about playing in the ISL this season?
Yes, I indeed signed for East Bengal before they were confirmed for this season's ISL, but I signed with the hope of playing in the ISL. The club was trying to get into the ISL and I was aware of the situation. I never really had much doubt about not playing the ISL this season. Knowing that the club is East Bengal and the way the officials were planning to play in the ISL, I was confident of playing this season.
Q: You were injured for the last two seasons. How is your recovery going on?
I have recovered from my injury. Now I am fine and recovering well. That was a challenging period for me, no doubt, as I suffered an injury, and the club also had to go through a coaching change. Now I am fine and ready to play.
Q: What is your view about the squad that East Bengal have this season?
We have a good squad with some excellent foreign players who have played in top leagues in Europe. We have some talented youngsters also. Moreover, we have an outstanding coaching staff too.
Q: East Bengal kickstart the season with the biggest game in Indian football, the Kolkata Derby. That is also going to be your first derby. What are your views on it?
Everyone knows about the derby and the hype surrounding the derby. The emotions that the fans have for these games are terrific.
Playing the derby as the maiden game for East Bengal in the ISL will be an emotional affair. It will also be a challenging game to start our season.
We must win the first game and get the season started in the right way, and it is crucial we do that.
Q: You are one of the best midfielders of this generation. What will be your advice to the youngsters in your team?
First of all, I would tell them that life is an experience and we should learn from every moment. They should enjoy every training session but also make sure they understand the need for that training session.
Every training drill has a specific purpose, and it is necessary to know and understand what it is. They shouldn't be like just come to the training ground and go back. Understanding is the key to success. Also, they should not be afraid to make mistakes. Young players should all see to it that they are improving with every training session.