Shillong Lajong FC will take on local rivals and I-League debutants Royal Wahingdoh FC in what promises to be a mouth watering derby as the two Shillong sides square up for their first match this season on 18th January, 2015 at the J.N. Stadium, Shillong at 4:30PM. This will also be the first time the two sides will face each other in the I-League given their already rich local rivalry.
Speaking in a pre match press conference, SLFC coach Thangboi Singto said, “ Every game is important for the team but fans are very important so both Lajong and Royal Wahingdoh will play an attractive brand of football, highly competitive and Royal Wahingdoh will try their best and we will also try our best and hopefully it can become an important fixture in Indian Football.” Royal Wahingdoh coach Santosh Kashyap who has experienced a Shillong derby last season with Rangdajied United FC is coming into the match with a hint of confidence given their Federation Cup campaign but says “Can’t say” if his team has the advantage. He added, “I-League is a different ballgame and I hope it will be an attractive and good derby.”
Looking ahead into the new season, Thangboi Singto is hoping that his team does even better than last season’s successful campaign in which Shillong Lajong FC finished 6th in the table. He adds, “A new season, new beginning and we have a lot of young players coming in who just recently became Shillong Premier League champions so we are very hopeful and very confident.”
Lajong have registered 12 players who have come through the academy ranks and also played in the recently concluded Federation Cup. Thangboi Singto also heaped praises on the performances of the likes of Zodingliana, Rehenesh TP and also Vishal Kaith who was voted man of the match for his displays again Mohun Bagan in the Federation Cup.
The Reds have also been able to retain the services of foreign players Uilliams Souza, Cornell Glen and Minchol Son adding Nigerian central midfielder Penn Orji to the team as well. Thangboi Singto added that even though “foreigners make a difference” he is not considering their squad roles are secure as yet in the starting line up as the foreign players just arrived in the squad.
Also present at the press conference, Shillong Lajong captain and Indian international Aiborlang Khongjee said, “I am happy to be back with Shillong Lajong and I hope the boys play well on Sunday and get us the three points.”
Come Sunday, all roads will lead to the JN Stadium Shillong where a “Mighty Clash” between North East Football Giant Shillong Lajong Football Club and the New League Entrants Royal Wahingdoh FC, is set to take place in front of an expected packed Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.