Shillong 27th April: Shillong Lajong FC will take on East Bengal FC in the first leg encounter of the Federation Cup 2016 at the JN Stadium on Sunday at 5pm. The winning club of the Federation Cup tournament will compete in the continental level of the AFC Cup next season.
Lajong displayed a spirited performance in what was the last home game as well as the most crucial game of the I-League 2016 season which was held on the 24th April against former I-League champions East Bengal, winning by 1-0. Thus, the top 8 teams in the I-League will battle it all out in the Home and Away Knockout – Federation Cup 2016 Campaign.
Looking back at the recently concluded I-League 2015-16 Season, Lajong fielded the youngest squad in the I-League with an average age of just 22. The Lajong Academy players as well as the players in the I-League squad hail from different parts of the North East Region, based on the philosophy of continually promoting footballing talent from the region. The only exception has been the junior Goalkeeper Vishal Kaith, who is from Himachal Pradesh, and the foreigners that are included in the Squad.
Brazilian duo Uilliams Bomfin Souza and Fabio Henrique scored four goals each while midfielder Penn Orji from Nigeria scored 2 goals. Meanwhile, senior Indian player Boithang Haokip added one goal to his name.
As many as 7 Lajong junior boys made their I-League debut this season namely, Chinglensana Singh, Aibanbha Kupar Dohling, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Hardy Cliff Nongbri, Isaac V, Alen Deory and Milan Basulatary.
These young guns along with the inclusion of the other junior boys, who already made their I-League debuts in the prior seasons, indeed had a terrific year. Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Chinglensana Singh and Isaac found the net in their debut season itself.
Lajong recorded 4 wins and 3 draws out of 8 matches played in total at home. Overall, the club won 4 times, drew six and lost six times and finally ended the season in 6th position with 18 points. Playing with the youngest team in the league, and facing threat of relegation at the end, the club couldn’t have been happier ending the season on a positive note by having the 19 year old Issac scoring in dramatic fashion and sending the crowd into raptures, saving the day at the stadium.
The team will now switch focus on their Federation Cup campaign. It will be another entertaining and tough contest between third-placed East Bengal FC and sixth-placed Shillong Lajong FC on 1st May, Sunday at the JN Stadium at 5pm.
Shillong Lajong FC General Manager Mr. H. Lyngdoh said, “Sunday was a very momentous victory for the Club. I wish to thank the 8000 + supporters who showed up and cheered for the Reds last Sunday. The passion and dedication displayed by the Fans was the motivation for the players and the Club. All of us are grateful towards the Fans. As we now prepare for the Federation Cup, we urge the Fans to be present on Sunday at the JN Stadium Polo, so that we can win again, against East Bengal.”
Lajong who had a one day rest on Monday, kicked off with their training preparations on Tuesday in polo ground.
The Club urges all their fans and supporters to come witness the action between the two premier clubs of Indian football at the JN Stadium Shillong on Sunday at 5pm.
Lajong will then play the second leg of the Federation Cup against East Bengal on the 4th May in Kolkata. The winner of the two legs will qualify for the semi finals which will be a Home and Away Knockout fixture as well.