Interview: Penn Orji
Penn Orji made his debut as a “Red” against Mumbai FC on the 25th of January and the Nigerian Born immediately made his presence felt on Lajong’s Fortress, as The Reds secured a commendable victory over Mumbai FC courtesy a Boithang Haokip excellent free kick.
Although he has played only one match so far, his skills and experience will certainly help bolster the Lajong Attacking Force, and he confidently declares in a recent interview with the Lajong Media, “We want to win the trophy”.
The exciting midfielder who signed with Shillong Lajong FC for this season sat down for a chat and contented with how things have set for him so far at the state capital, “I feel great. The environment is friendly and the people here are friendly and the support has been tremendous and the fans have been all out as well”, he adds with a gentle smile. He fondly recalls frequent visits to Shillong with previous teams when he only thought about only two things and two things only, “the weather and the fans”. Any man from the generally humid and warm country of Nigeria would have had a difficult time adjusting to the chilly conditions in these parts of the country but Penn exclaimed, “It was not too difficult for me”
After the departure of Japanese central midfielder Taisuke Matsugae, Lajong were in search of a midfield lynchpin who would turn defence into attack and Penn was just the right man to come in. “I looked at the environment, the flexibility of the contract and when Lajong came in I just made my decision quickly”, was how he summed up how much of a symbiotic relationship he would have with the club ahead of his move.
A man who has been playing Indian football for a mere five years and at only 24 years of age speaks with so much experience and a frame of mind that would have inspired the ones around him, “We have a young squad full of energy and who are willing to learn. They say experience should fear the strength of youth and football is a mobile game so if we meet an experienced side we will put them under pressure.” It is only early days for the team as the full strength squad has only been training for a few days but Orji is confident that with the “coach’s instruction, a little guidance from the staff and the senior players” Lajong will only need a couple of games before they get going and become “unstoppable”.
Shillong Lajong FC have one of the best fan followings in the country and Penn Orji mentioned the importance and the help of having a strong support. “We need their support and they should come out in large numbers in all our home matches. We can’t do it alone because with them behind us, they drive more energy from us to put teams under pressure. We want them to come support us in large numbers.”
This is Penn Orji’s fifth I-League season and with the experience and the clever style of play he brings to the middle of the pitch, he surely is going to be an added advantage to Lajong’s Youthful Squad. The North East Outfit will play their first away match against a strong Pune FC side on the 29th of January at the Balewadi Stadium Pune. The match will telecast live on Ten Action at 7PM.