Shillong, Jul 4: Aiban Dohling and Redeem Tlang are both eager to get football going again so that they can help their club FC Goa win the Indian Super League and make Meghalaya proud.
The pair had a video chat on FC Goa’s Instagram page this evening where they posed questions to each other and answered a few from the public.
Both Dohling and Tlang were a feature of Shillong Lajong for several seasons and reminisced about their previous experience of playing together for SLFC before their careers diverged before coming together again at FC Goa. While Dohling joined the Gaurs in 2019, Tlang is joining his old team mate after making the switch from NorthEast United.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic the two are still in Meghalaya and are itching to get back on the pitch.
“The disadvantage of the situation is that we’re not playing football, but the advantage is that we get a lot of time to spend with family,” Tlang said. “We are all starting to adapt to the situation but one thing I can’t adapt to is not being able to play football.”
Both youngsters are keeping fit while at home, using the training programme provided by their club. Fitness may be key to all footballers, but especially so for Dohling, who required extensive physiotherapy during his Lajong days after suffering a bad leg injury that put him out of commission for several months.
“When I was injured badly you guys motivated me. I was off the pitch for nine months, I think – it was a long year,” Dohling said, to which Tlang responded, “It was an inspiration to see you come back stronger.”
Talking about FC Goa, Dohling recounted the feelings he had when he made his debut for the ISL club.
“It was a proud moment for me and for my family. Didn’t dream of making my debut so soon because Goa have such a good team with top players. I was very happy that the coach believed in me to make my debut for FC Goa. I thought I would be nervous but it helped that I was playing on a familiar ground,” he said, referring to his maiden appearance on 19th February at Jamshedpur, a city he knew well from his Tata Football Academy days.
On Tlang joining him at the Gaurs, he added, “I’m very happy that we’re back together again.”
Dohling also quizzed Tlang on his feelings on signing for Goa.
“I’m blessed and proud to be part of this club. To play for the first club in India to have qualified for the AFC Champions League – it’s a huge step for me,” Tlang said. “Let’s hope it works very well for us.”
Last season Goa dominated enough to finish the ISL league stage in first position, five points clear of second-placed ATK but stumbled in the playoffs and failed to make it to the final. That first place in the league stage, however, secured them a spot in the AFC Champions League.
“The fans are excited to see you in Goa,” Dohling chipped in. “Everywhere we go we get so much love and respect from the Goa fans. I hope that this coming season we can give them the main trophy.”
“Let’s do it together,” Tlang responded. “Me, you and the team. I hope we can reach the target, make our state proud and make Goa proud.”