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Shillong Lajong Football Club - The Hope Of The North-East

Monday, September 12, 2011

/ Published by Simon L Infimate

The Shillong based clubs have bounced straight back into the I-League Division I after relegation in 2009-10. Can they stay up?'s Ayush Srivastava has a look....


Shillong Lajong bounced straight back into the I-League after being relegated to division II in 2009-10. Playing in front of their home crowd and in conditions which were to their benefit, The Reds took full advantage and ran away as the division II Winners.

The I-League division II champions will hope to have a better season than the one they had the last time they got promoted to the premier division of Indian Football.

Last season, the club also failed to replicate its heroics of 2009 in the Federation Cup, as after qualifying for the group stage, the Shillong-based club crashed out with 2 points.

The club did however reach the IFA Shield semi-final, where they lost to Mohun Bagan.

Tuboi's Registration With Army XI Caused A Furore....

During Off-Season

The club’s participation in the I-League was in jeopardy for a while as an issue over the registration of forward Seikhohao Tuboi reared its head. Tuboi was said to have represented two clubs during the same season as along with Shillong Lajong he also played for the Army XI in the Kolkata League. However Lajong conclusively proved that the player was registered with them since two seasons and played for the Army team as he was also an army jawan. Eventually the matter was sorted out and Lajong’s place in the first division was secured.

The Shillong based club’s stadium also was given a grant of Rs. 5.5 Crores by the Meghalaya Government and work is underway at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium which means that Head Coach Pradhyum Reddy’s boys might have to play some of their earlier home games at Imphal, Manipur.

Sluggish Pitch Conditions Force Relocation Of Training Camp To Mizoram...


In a recent interview with, the Reds coach Pradhyum Reddy revealed that he wasn’t totally satisfied with the club’s pre-season, which he described as “disjointed”.

Due to sluggish condition of the ground in Shillong, the team had to move its camp to Mizoram in order to avail better facilities. The team also took part in a pre-season tournament there, which helped fine-tune their preparations.

Lajong then returned to Shillong, where again due to the ground conditions, they had to make use of an alternate training ground.

The club has now moved base to Guwahati, with their British coach revealing that the prime reason for their decision to move to Assam was the need to acclimatize to the warm weather prevalent on the plains of India. This was largely done as the club had struggled to deal with the heat in places like Goa and Kolkata, due to which they had an abysmal away record in their first stint in the I-League.


Former Liberian Captain Joins The Pride...


The Shillong based outfit have been busy strengthening their squad for the upcoming I-League season during the transfer window.

The most high profile signing of the club has been the signing of Liberian attacker Johnny Menyongar, who has joined the club from United Sikkim. The forward brings a wealth of experience to the side and should add some bite in the attack.

His possible strike partner could be former Mohammedan Sporting striker Christopher Chizoba, who was the third highest scorer in the Kolkata League last season.

Chizoba alongwith former Ar-Hima Captain Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who is an attacking central midfielder by trade, could prove to be one of the smartest signings of the transfer window as both have shown a lot of potential last season and should prove useful in the I-League.

BMFC midfielder Henry Gangte and defender L. Romenjit Singh should add depth to the squad. Similarly Ex- JCT defender Lalchuanmawia and Southern Samity’s Tuishim Mashangva will give more options to Reddy at the back.

Nine players have also been released, including Anil Gurung who has returned to Nepal and Marcus Basumatary, Keleche Okoye who have joined Ar-Hima.

Meanwhile, a player from Korea, Yu Chul Won is under trial as the club look to complete their quota of foreign signings.


Shillong Lajong had managed to retain most of their players when they were relegated in 2009-10 and most of them have stayed with the squad this season. Many of those players, like keeper Rime still form the core of the team while new signings like Menyongar and Lyngdoh should help improve the squad. Here are some of the players who might have a decisive say in the fortunes of the Shillong-based club this term.

J. Menyongar: The Liberian attacker is the biggest signing Lajong have made this transfer window and the attacker will have to fire in goals all through the season if Lajong are going to have a chance to survive this season.
Subhas Singh: Called up to the national camp by Colaco, the wingback will hope to catch the national team coach’s eye again this season with his forays forward. Although he might need to tighten up defensively against teams in the top tier, Singh could well prove to be the answer to India’s problems at left back, and in solving them he might well save Lajong from relegation.
Gumpe Rime: The veteran in goal for the Reds is still a mainstay at the back. A brilliant shot-stopper, he also commands his defence well and his organizational skills will be as vital as the saves he makes for the Shillong-based club this season.
B. Haokip: The 20 year old Manipuri had a great season for Lajong last year. The width and quality he provides to the club is a very crucial to Reddy's tactics. Capable of turning up on either wing, Haokip could well be the next star from the North-East.


Coach Pradhyum Reddy took over the team after they were relegated from the I-League in 2009-10. The 35-year-old British national, who holds a UEFA ‘A’ License, has done well to hold on to the core of the squad which represented the club in their first stint in the I-League.

His tactics and methods of ensuring his players acclimatize to away conditions, something which was their Achilles heel in 2009-10, show his eye for details and thorough research.

With some smart signings having been made in the transfer window, Reddy seems to be a safe pair of hands who should lead Lajong to safety, which is their aim for this season


35-year-old Pradhyum Reddy likes to play a fluid attacking system. However with survival being Lajong's main aim for the season, one can expect variations from the coach in tactics throughout the season.The Shillong based club have four tremendous strikers on their roster and would like to make the full use of such an enviable strikeforce.

The presence of so many versatile midfielders certainly gives the gives the coach enough options to choose from.


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