Shillong, Nov 6: There’s exactly two weeks to go before the seventh season of the Indian Super League begins, so let’s take a look at who are the footballers from Meghalaya and the other North East states who have made it into the squads of the 11 participating clubs.

We’ve only drawn on names that appeared on the ISL’s official website by the end of yesterday.

ATK Mohun Bagan

Meghalayans : 0
Other North East : 3

Let’s take this alphabetically and start with ATK Mohun Bagan. They haven’t got any Meghalaya players in their ranks but do have three from the wider region, namely goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem and midfielders Ningombam Engson Singh and Boris Singh Thangjam. All three are from Manipur. The first two played for India at the U-17 World Cup in 2017, while Ningombam is just 17 years old.

Bengaluru FC

Meghalayans: 0
Other North East: 13

Incredibly, 13 out of 2018-19 champions Bengaluru FC’s 32-man squad this year are from the North East, though none from Meghalaya.

From Manipur come defender Wungngayam Muirang, midfielders Ajay Chhetri, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Naorem Roshan Singh and Huidrom Thoi Singh and forwards Udanta Singh and Thongkhosiem Haokip.

From Mizoram are ex-Lajong goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte, ex-Lajong defender Joe Zoherliana, midfielder Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha and forward Edmund Lalrindika.

Sikkim defender Biswa Darjee and midfielder Namgyal Bhutia are the other two.

Chennaiyin FC

Meghalayans : 0
Other North East : 7

Chennaiyin have seven North Easterners in their ranks: ex-Royal Wahingdoh defender Reagan Singh (Manipur), ex-Lajong defender Lalchhuanmawia Fanai (Mizoram), defender Jerry Lalrinzuala (Mizoram), defender Reamsochung Chongompipa Aimol (known as Remi Aimol, Manipur), midfielder Thoi Singh (Manipur), midfielder Lallianzuala Chhangte (Mizoram) and forward Aman Chetri (Assam).

They’ve also got goalie Vishal Kaith, who, though hailing from Himachal Pradesh, had played plenty of football for Lajong over the course of three seasons.

FC Goa

Meghalayans : 3
Other North East : 2

Last season’s league shield winners have plumped for three players from Meghalaya. They’ve kept hold of central defender Aiban Dohling, while also signing midfielders Redeem Tlang from NorthEast United and luring 19-year-old Phrangki Buam from Shillong Lajong.

Injury meant that Dohling played in just one ISL match last season for Goa. Although NorthEast United didn’t have a great last season, Tlang did, scoring three goals for his former team and winning one man-of-the-match and four emerging-player-of-match awards. Buam, meanwhile, is completely new to this level of football, having never played in the ISL before. Despite his inexperience he could find a way into a matchday squad as a developmental player (that is born after 1st January 2000).

The other North Easterners in the squad are midfielder Makan Winkle Chothe and ex-Lajong forward Seiminlen Doungel. Both are from Manipur.

Hyderabad FC

Meghalayans : 1
Other North East : 8

Former Lajong defender Kynsailang Khongsit had played for Hyderabad reserves in the Second Division League earlier in the year (which was abandoned due to the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in India). He has now been promoted to the first team and is included in the ISL squad. Like Buam at Goa, he qualifies as a developmental player.

The other North Easterners are goalie Lalbiakhlua Jongte (Mizoram), defender Asish Rai (Sikkim), ex-Lajong defender Chinglensana Singh (Manipur), midfielder Halicharan Narzary (Assam), midfielder Laldanmawia Ralte (Mizoram), midfielder Mark Zothanpuia (Mizoram), midfielder Mohammed Yasir (Manipur) and forward Lalawmpuia (Mizoram).

Also at the club is Thangboi Singto, who led Lajong for several years. He is the senior team’s assistant coach as well as being the technical director of the youth side.

Jamshedpur FC

Meghalayans : 0
Other North East : 9

No one North East player stands out more in Jamshedpur’s squad (or arguably in any ISL team’s squad) than former Wahingdoh midfielder Jackichand Singh from Manipur, who has made the switch from FC Goa this year.

Other players from the sister states are defender Ricky Lallawmawma (Mizoram), defender Laldinliana Renthlei (Mizoram), defender Manash Protim Gogoi (Assam), midfielder Amarjit Singh Kiyam (Manipur), ex-Lajong midfielder Isaac Vanmalsawma (Mizoram), midfielder Pukhrambam Manisana Singh (Manipur), forward Sapam Kenedy Singh (Manipur) and forward William Lalnunfela (Mizoram).

One of the club’s five keepers is Rehenesh TP, who has kept goal for both Lajong and Rangdajied United in the past.

Kerala Blasters

Meghalayans : 1
Other North East : 9

There is no Kenstar Kharshong (the former Lajong captain and central defender) in Kerala Blasters’ squad as listed on the ISL website. Kharshong had travelled to Goa to train with the team but apparently didn’t make it onto the squad list and is believed to have returned to Meghalaya. He could still perhaps make an appearance if it becomes necessary or, more likely, be loaned out to an I-League side later on.

Who is on the list is forward Shaiborlang Kharpan, who has been with the Blasters since 2018 and has played for them in the local Kerala league and national Second Division League.

Seven other players are from Manipur: ex-Lajong forward Naorem Mahesh Singh, ex-Lajong defender Sandeep Singh Soraisham, defender Yendrembam Denechandra Meitei, ex-Wahingdoh midfielder Seityasen Singh, midfielder Givson Singh, midfielder Jeakson Singh Thounaojam and midfielder Nongdamba Naorem. The two others from the North East are both from Mizoram: midfielder Lalthathanga Khawlhring and defender Lalruatthara.

Mumbai City 

Meghalayans : 0
Other North East : 5

Just five North Eastern players are in Mumbai City’s squad for this season’s ISL, but they include two former Lajong players – goalkeeper Phurba Tempa Lachenpa (Sikkim) and midfielder Bipin Singh (Manipur).

The others are defender Hmingthanmawia (Mizoram), defender Tondonba Singh (Manipur) and midfielder Bidyananda Singh (Manipur).

NorthEast United 

Meghalayans : 0
Other North East : 9

The team representing the whole of the North East had two Meghalayans in their squad last year – Tlang and Rupert Nongrum – but the former has left for FC Goa, while the latter will play in the I-League for Punjab FC this season.

NEUFC have plenty of other North Easterners but not all that many given that their base is in the heart of the region. Three of them used to play for Lajong – defenders Nabin Rabha (Assam), Nim Dorjee Tamang (Sikkim) and Rakesh Pradhan (Assam).

The others are goalkeeper Nikhil Deka (Assam), midfielder Lalengmawia (Mizoram), midfielder Lalrempuia Fanai (Mizoram), midfielder Rochharzela (Mizoram), forward Khumanthem Ninthoinganba Meetei (Manipur) and forward Lalkhawpuimawia (Mizoram).

Odisha FC 

Meghalayans : 0
Other North East : 11

Eleven players in Odisha’s squad are from the North East, of which six hail from Mizoram.

The half dozen Mizoram footballers are midfielder Isak Vanlalruatfela, midfielder Jerry Mawihmingthanga, midfielder Lalhrezuala Sailung, midfielder Paul Ramfangzauva, ex-Lajong midfielder Samuel Lalmuanpuia and forward Daniel Lalhlimpuia.

The others from the region are defender Gaurav Bora (Assam), midfielder Baoringdao Bodo (Assam), midfielder Thoiba Singh Moirangthem (Manipur), midfielder Vinit Rai Chamling (Assam) and forward Laishram Premjit Singh (Manipur).

SC East Bengal

Meghalayans : 1
Other North East : 7

Two big Indian names stand out in East Bengal’s squad list – Meghalaya midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Mizoram forward Jeje Lalpekhlua, both of whom have carved their names into the history of the Indian national team as well.

Lyngdoh has joined from Bengaluru, while Lalpekhlua has made his way over from Chennaiyin.

Other North East team mates they will have are defender Ningthoukhongjam Rohen Singh (Manipur), defender Lalramchullova (Mizoram), midfielder Wahengbam Angousana (Manipur), midfielder Yumnam Singh (Manipur), midfielder Surchandra Singh (Manipur) and ex-Wahingdoh midfielder Moirangthem Loken Meitei (Manipur).

There are also numerous other North East players who are under contract with the Red & Golds, such as Novin Gurung and Milan Singh, but these were signed by the club before they secured a place in the ISL and it is believed that they do not currently feature in coach Robbie Fowler’s plans.

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