Shillong, Aug 22: Jose Carlos Rodriguez Hevia begins his trip back home to Spain today after a little more than a year at Shillong Lajong where he served as Technical Director.

Rodriguez’s contract with the club ends at the end of the month. In his time at Lajong he led the team to a Shillong Premier League title (their first after a gap of two years) and Meghalaya State League crown last year. He also trained scores of coaches in Meghalaya through an SLFC  coaching programme.

The UEFA Pro Licence coach, who has had prior experience in India with Pune City, Minerva Punjab and Madhya Bharat, has been posting quite a fair bit on his Facebook page ahead of his departure and he’s had plenty of heartfelt goodbyes from his Lajong players and the coaches he has trained.

Players like Kitboklang Khyriem, Kynsailang Khongsit, Aman Ahlawat and Naorem Mahesh Singh had warm wishes for him and the admiration goes both ways, no doubt, as after the MSL final last year he said the Lajong boys could go on to be the best footballers in India.

Other words of farewell came from the others he worked with during his time in Meghalaya.

“Going to miss you for sure. Thank you so much for your contribution to Meghalaya football and coaches,” Badamut Riahtam wrote.

“You will be terribly missed by those who have come across you in India including me.. God Bless You in whatever you do and wherever you go.. Wishing you a Happy life.. take care.. Plz come back if you ever get the chance to do so,” said Yasam Khyriem.

Of course, we haven’t had any football in Meghalaya for the past five months due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s a little sad to think that when the sport returns we won’t hear Rodriguez from the sidelines with his booming voice that amused spectators (and TSR) no end.

But, on the other hand, perhaps we will as he commented, “What will happen in the future, no one knows. But I don’t close any door… Even to come back to Shillong.”

(File photo)

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