Super fan Bhogtoram Mawroh was super frustrated with Langsning’s loss to TRAU in the Second Division League. He sees much promise in Frolicson Dkhar and Donborlang Nongkynrih, but finds fault with their performances yesterday. Captain Brolington Warlarpih, however, wins complete praise…

I have been going to the stadium for a long time now. During all those occasions I have experienced multiple emotions. There were the good times when I joined with the spectators to cheer for the home team and then there were the bad times when I swore at the players and the referee for some glaring errors.

But never have I lost my cool to the extent that the thought of destruction was so intense. After Langsning missed another glaring chance I almost threw my umbrella to the ground in a rage of frustration. The thought of destroying something to calm myself down was still lingering in my mind as I made my way out of the stadium. Even when I went to bed thoughts were swirling in my head of what this result could mean for Langsning’s final round qualification. Normally I would try to finish writing my observations the same day I get back from the match. This time, though, I just wanted to block all thoughts about the game and get some rest first. I hoped that morning would bring more clarity and calmness. When I woke up I realised that I was still thinking about the game and understood that if I didn’t put down my thoughts immediately they would continue troubling me for the next few days.

So, here I go again with my observations about the game. Apart from the goal and the header from Reisangmei Vashum, it was Langsning all the way. The first half was a little even, but even then Langsning had the best chances.

The second half was an even more uneven contest with TRAU able to mount only a few counterattacks, which were easily thwarted by Langsning’s defense. Such was Langsning’s superiority that I don’t remember Frolicson Dkhar being tested even once in the second half.

It was a good thing that he wasn’t because he looked really nervous and tentative every time he was put under a little bit of pressure. The same can be said of Donborlang Nongkynrih as well. The body language of both players was not very good.

First, let me come to Frolicson. In the early part of the first half, TRAU’s winger played a dangerous cross into the box which Vashum couldn’t keep down. Lancine Toure rightly berated the goalkeeper, who should have tried to come for the ball. Granted, it was an out-swinger, which was moving away from the goal, making it a little difficult to judge, but these are the kinds of situations for which goalkeepers are trained for. It was further disappointing to see that instead of putting his hand up and accepting his mistake Frolicson was trying to find an excuse for his lack of bravery by arguing with the central defender.

Frolicson’s lack of assertiveness was evident throughout the entire match when he was time and again hesitant to come forward and get hold of the ball. Langsning’s dominance saved him from any further blushes in a match in which goalkeeping errors were galore at the other end as well.

The lack of decisiveness was also a big feature of Donborlang’s disappointing performance. Because of his stature he will always be bullied by physically stronger opponents. When that happens good players fight back with their own aggression by standing their ground and letting the opposition make mistakes. Even in the I-League there are players who are of short stature but have shown great tenacity to come out on top against their opponents.

One very good example from 2017 was when Chesterpaul Lyngdoh held his own against DSK Shivajians’ central defenders, allowing Ansumana Kromah to score a goal.

When I reflected on both Frolicson’s and Donborlang’s performance it seemed to me that there were very grateful for being given the chance to play in the first XI. As such they were very conscious of not making a mistake that might jeopardise their place in the team.

The lack of belief in themselves, in my opinion, was the reason for their below par performance. As much as talent, to be the best in any sphere of activity you first have to believe that you deserve to be the best (this was reiterated by Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview a few days ago).

Bah Hering Shangpliang would not have put them in the team if he didn’t believe that they are ready. I concur with the coach that they are good enough to be in that team. In their defence both may make the case that this was their first full start and as such they may have been a little nervous. I think that’s a very valid point, but in the situation that they are in they have to get past that.

This is not an 18-game season where you get a run of three-five games to help you get yourself acclimatised. Every single game matters. Frolicson should be the one shouting at the defenders and telling them to get into position and not the other way around. Donborlang should be one of the midfielders to look to for releasing the pressure and creating an attack for the strikers. Difficult though that may be, they will have to raise their game very quickly.

For me, every single Langsning player deserves to play at a higher level. But that is not going to happen if they don’t believe that they deserve to, especially Donborlang and Frolicson. The players who don’t need convincing are Brolington Warlarpih and Kitboklang Pale.

While the other defenders may have faltered on some occasions, Brolington stood tall like a giant. He won every duel and in one-to-one situations made the opposition attacker look very ordinary. Not the tallest of defenders but his performance dwarfed those around him. A true leader of the team!

While Brolington held his own at the back, Kitbok was busy weaving his magic upfront. His quick feet and deftness of control was an exhibition of his tremendous talent. He looked a class above the rest in the match. But this is also where I have issues with him.

When you are the best player in the game, you have to make sure that you help your team win that game. He cannot make the excuse that he did not have the opportunity to do so. He had his chances but he fluffed them. Individual brilliance counts for nothing in a team game. Because of his personal performance there is a heightened expectation that he will win games for his team. Not once, not twice but every time he takes the pitch.

Good players understand this responsibility and accept it with gusto. He has to do the same.

Last match it was Dibinroy Nongspung who allowed the cross which led to Bengaluru’s goal. In this match it was him again who was at fault for the goal that was conceded. To begin with he did the right thing – get in front of the attacker. But in spite of it he lost the header. This is not acceptable. From being a central defender, Dibinroy has been played as a holding midfielder and then moved to the full-back position and now to being a central striker. He has been played across the pitch by the coach. This shows that he is highly rated by the coach but it is his mistakes that have resulted in Langsning losing four points in the last two games.

Such a situation cannot be allowed to happen time and again. Bah Hering needs to have a long chat with him.

After the loss to TRAU qualification has become a little tricky. This is all the more frustrating considering that in all three matches Langsning were the dominant side. Notwithstanding the final outcome of the tournament, I hope that this is just a beginning of Langsning’s journey to become one of the best teams in the country. They have to persist and continue with the good work that they are doing.

To be truthful, for harnessing local talent, teams like Langsning are much better placed than Shillong Lajong. In the past years Lajong ignored local talents and, even when they were brought in, they were not given a chance. Niwan-o-Gatphoh was one such case. He was in great form in the Shillong Premier League when he was bought by the team but Thangboi Singto never gave him a chance while he gave his own players many opportunities. The same happened with Rocus Lamare last year.

When I travel around villages in Meghalaya and see children playing barefoot, I dream that some will make it to the top of Indian football one day. For that, I feel that they have a better chance of achieving it through Langsning (and similar teams) than Lajong. The reason for this is purely marketing and brand image. I can guarantee that there will be games in the future when not having a single local player in the team will not bother Lajong at all, but if there isn’t an outstation player it will disturb the team management a lot.

Nevertheless, I wish the best to Langsning and Lajong for their upcoming matches. Hope they both do well.

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