Shillong, Mar 26: Shillong Lajong forward Samuel Lalmuanpuia has gone on loan to Minerva Punjab for the AFC Cup, the two clubs announced today.

Minerva are in the Asian competition by dint of winning the I-League 2017-18 season. They will play Chennaiyin FC from the Indian Super League in their first match of Group E on 3rd April. The other teams in Group E are Abahani Dhaka of Bangladesh and Manang Marshyangdi of Nepal.

Lalmuanpuia is Lajong’s most experienced player, having played in 59 I-League matches. His debut at this level came on 21st February 2016 and he has scored 10 I-League goals for Lajong, the second most for an Indian player at SLFC.

He was named Best Emerging Player by the AIFF at the end of I-League 2017-18 and was dubbed the “best set-piece player in India” by then Mohun Bagan coach Shankarlal Chakraborty.

The 20-year-old and Mizoram native also led the side as captain from the start of the 2017-18 season.

Lalmuanpuia was recently considered for a place in the India team for the U-23 AFC Championship qualifiers, but wasn’t selected in the final squad. He missed Lajong’s last I-League fixture earlier this month as he was in Goa for the Indian team’s preparatory camp.

(Photo: Facebook/Minerva Punjab)

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