Ground: Nehru Stadium, Shillong, Meghalaya.
Owner: Shillong Lajong Pvt. Ltd.
Chairman: P.D. Sawyan
2017–18: I-League: 6th
A credible sixth-place finish in the 2017/18 season saw Shillong Lajong finish yet another year in the mid-table.
As the Reds enter their 12th I-League campaign, they lost senior members from the previous campaign. Redeem Tlang, Shaiborlang Kharpan, and Alen Deory were snapped up by clubs in the Indian Super League. Meanwhile, the foreign signings also departed from the club.
Earlier this year, the club raised eyebrows in the pre-season with their decision to field a squad drawn from its academy and other youngsters from the North Eastern region of India. In short, the club will be without any foreign signings.
The team will be led by 20-year-old Samuel Lalmuanpuia, who will feature in his third I-League campaign. Neithovilie Chalieu will hold the fort in the Shillong goal. In defence, Kenstar Kharsong and Rakesh Pradhan will lead the line. Samuel will head the midfield, alongside Samuel Lyngdoh and F. Lalrohlua. The attack will be led by youngsters like Parvaj Bhuiya and Donboklang Lyngdoh.
Lajong’s manager, Alison Kharsyntiew, has been associated with the club for years. The former club player had to retire from the game at an early age, owing to a knee injury he suffered during the early stages of his career.
He returned back to Shillong Lajong in the year 2012 as a coach to work with the junior teams at the club. The current team will consist of players who have been coached by Kharsyntiew over the years.
Kharsyntiew likes his team to play from the back and uses his wingers to initiate the attacks.
Samuel Lalmuanpuia: Samuel won the Emerging Player of I-League 2017/18 for his contributions to the team. The previous year, he became the youngest goalscorer in the I-League at the age of 17.
The team captain will pull the strings from the midfield and initiate the attacks for the young team.
What to Expect
The lack of experience is likely to surface against the bigger teams. However, the club is not expected to challenge for the title. A mid-table finish will be considered a successful season for the Shillong colts.
While the focus will be on Lajong’s involvement in the all-North East team clashes against NEROCA FC and Aizawl FC. However, the fixture to watch will be their clash against Indian Arrows – another team who has approached the league without any foreigners in their squad.