Shillong, Oct 25: Shillong Lajong named a 21-member squad for I-League 2018-19 today and it will not just be all-Indian, but in fact all-North Eastern.
Ten Meghalaya players are part of the squad – Kynsailang Khongsit, Allen Lyngdoh Nongbri, Aibankupar Dohling, Habymmutshuh Nongrum, Kenstar Kharshong, Hardycliff Nongbri, Phrangki Buam, Freestar Kharbangar, Samuel Kynshi and Sheen Sohktung.
No foreign signings or any senior domestic players means that Lajong are going with the same youngsters that are currently competing in the Shillong Premier League.
Twelve of the Lajong players have played in the I-League before, but their experience ranges from Samuel Lalmuanpuia (with more than 40 caps) down to Lyngdoh Nongbri (just two).
Lalmuanpuia will continue in the role of captain, while Alison Kharsyntiew has been named coach.
Lajong start their season on Sunday in a North East derby against 2016-17 champions Aizawl FC. SLFC have never lost to Aizawl at their home ground.
“It’s going to be a very exciting and challenging season for me because we will field North East players only with no foreign players,” Kharsyntiew was quoted as saying in a Lajong press release. “We will be facing tough teams in the league but we believe that our boys will give a good performance in every game, be strong, confident and motivated.”
Meanwhile, Lalmuanpuia said, “We need to work hard as a team and have a strong belief and determination. It will be a tough season but we look forward to giving our best, get positive results and take one game at a time.”
Goalkeepers – Phurba Tempa Lachenpa, Neithovilie Chalieu. Defenders – Kynsailang Khongsit, Allen Lyngdoh Nongbri, Novin Gurung, Aibankupar Dohling, Habymmutshuh Nongrum, Kenstar Kharshong, Rakesh Pradhan, Naoroibam Romen Singh. Midfielders – Hardycliff Nongbri, Lalrohlua, Phrangki Buam, Freestar Kharbangar, Lalawmpuia Hnamte, Samuel Kynshi. Forwards – Bonison Nongmaithem, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Sheen Sohktung, Parvaj Bhuiya, Naorem Mahesh Singh.
Coach – Alison Kharsyntiew
Manager – Birendra Thapa
Physio – Lucky Kharmalki
(Photo contributed by Shillong Lajong FC)