Meghalaya lads Rupert Nongrum and Shaiborlang Kharpan both featured on the opening day of the I-League 2020-21 season yesterday. Nongrum made the starting XI for Punjab FC as they beat Aizawl FC 1-0. It was a bit of a contrast for Kharpan, who came on as a second half substitute for Sudeva as they lost by the same scoreline to Mohammedan Sporting.

Both players, as it happens, wear jersey No. 12. This was Kharpan’s first appearance in the I-League since 11th February 2018 and Nongrum’s first since 23rd April 2017 (he had made several Indian Super League appearances in between). The two used to play for Shillong Lajong.

Nongrum had made the switch to Punjab this season after a couple of unproductive years at NorthEast United. His photos are first:

Kharpan, meanwhile, was loaned to Sudeva by Kerala Blasters recently. His photos aren’t as good, unfortunately. 

There was also a familiar face coaching Mohammedan, ex-Lajong technical director Jose Carlos Rodriguez Hevia, who is now the head coach of the Black Panthers. His hairstyle, gestures and outfit have all remained the same! The team’s manager is Birendra Thapa, who also joined from Lajong.

(Photos: I-League media)

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