Shillong, Jul 16: Redeem Tlang is returning home, sort of anyway, by signing with NorthEast United FC on a two-year deal, it was confirmed yesterday.

Tlang had made his Indian Super League debut with the Highlanders back in 2014 while on loan from Shillong Lajong FC at the age of 19.

Then, after two strong seasons with Lajong in the I-League, he made a long-term move to NorthEast United in 2018, playing for two seasons where he made 35 ISL appearances and scored four goals. He was pivotal in 2018-19, scoring on the club’s way to a historic semifinal place.

The midfielder’s career appeared to be continuing to head in the right direction when he made the move to FC Goa in 2020, joining former Lajong team mates Aiban Dohling and Phrangki Buam.

However, in a bigger club like Goa, Tlang had less space to shine and, consequently, he played in just 10 games for the Gaurs in 2020-21, the year they finished on top of the league stage. 2021-22, a dismal year for Goa, saw him make just one ISL appearance being loaned out to Odisha FC, with whom he had more game time and personal success.

A final season then followed with Goa in 2022-23 and Tlang made 18 ISL appearances this season and scored three goals, so it was a good year for him but not that impressive for Goa, who could only finish seventh out of 11 teams (NEUFC, on the other hand, were dead last).

“Being from the North East region and coming back to your home is always special,” Tlang was quoted as saying. “I had mentioned while leaving the club in 2020 that NorthEast United FC will always have a special place in my heart. And now I am back to the place which gave me a chance to start my ISL career. I feel like I was never away from the club. I am eagerly waiting to start this journey, again, together giving my everything for the club and for the fans.”

“Redeem’s speed, skill, and versatility will provide us with a much-needed attacking impetus. We believe he will also have a positive impact on our team dynamics,” his new coach, Juan Pedro Benali, said.

It’s a risk rejoining a club that has struggled almost every season but if he finds some success there it could prove to be the right move for him.

(FC Goa file photo)

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