Shillong, Dec 9: Langsning will not be in this season’s Second Division League, which is the qualifying tournament for the I-League.
It was revealed on Friday by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) that the participation of only nine clubs has been sanctioned, with TRAU FC of Manipur given a further three days to meet licensing requirements.
The nine clubs are Ozone FC (Karnataka), South United FC 1 (Karnataka), Fateh Hyderabad AFC (Telangana), New Barrackpore Rainbow FC (West Bengal), Mohammedan Sporting (West Bengal), Chhinga Veng FC (Mizoram), Lonestar Kashmir (Jammu & Kashmir), Hindustan FC (New Delhi) and ARA FC (Gujarat).
TRAU had pipped Langsning in 2017-18’s Second Division League from Group C for a place in the final round.
The first clue that Langsning wouldn’t try to qualify for the I-League came about when it was revealed that the Shillong Premier League’s ace scorer Kitboklang Pale had been loaned out to Shillong Lajong for the I-League.
Langsning are known to have submitted their intent to take part to the AIFF in October, but murmurings in Shillong suggested that either a financial issue or differences in how the club should approach a Second Division campaign led the higher-ups in the administration to decide against competing.
Even though they are one of the top teams in Meghalaya, Langsning have yet to find success in the Second Division and they have seen other teams like Lajong, Rangdajied United and the old Royal Wahingdoh win promotion to the I-League instead.
After sitting out the qualifying tournament for a number of years Langsning returned to the fray earlier this year for the 2017-18 season but were only able to finish third in Group C.
However, since that disappointment Langsning evolved from strength to strength and were nigh unbeatable in the Shillong Premier League, which they won for a second straight year last month. With such an amazing and well-drilled squad, it seems unfathomable why they wouldn’t give the Second Division another go this year.
The AIFF had earlier stated that the Second Division would begin this month and that 23 teams had expressed willingness to take part.
However, on Friday it said that the league will begin in the first week of January and will go on until April.
Besides the nine confirmed teams, six Indian Super League (ISL) reserve sides will also participate, namely ATK, Jamshedpur FC, Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, Kerala Blasters FC and Chennaiyin FC. As in last year the ISL teams will only take part in the group stage.
(Langsning FC file photo)