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Exclusive: Odisha FC sign talented midfielder Samuel Lalmuanpuia

Published at :May 21, 2020 at 9:28 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Tarkesh Jha

The midfielder has formerly played for Shillong Lajong and Punjab FC too.

Odisha FC have signed Kerala Blasters midfielder Samuel Lalmuanpuia on a two-year deal, Khel Now understands. The 21-year-old had joined the Blasters before the sixth season of the Indian Super League.

He had featured sporadically during the course of the previous campaign. However, a sudden move to the Odisha-based outfit shows that the club looks determined to better their sixth-place finish from the last time around.

Samuel Lalmuanpuia, who hails from Mizoram, has previously represented Shillong Lajong over the course of four I-League seasons. He grew prominently to become a vital member of their squad and played 59 matches in the competition for them from 2015-2019. Moreover, he also scored 10 goals and registered six assists in these games.

Further, he underwent a short stint with Punjab FC in 2019 and garnered some valuable experience of playing in the AFC Cup too. He started six matches in the continental championship for Punjab and also scored a solitary goal. For his promising performances in the 2017-18 season, Samuel Lalmuanpuia was conferred with the I-League U-22 Player of the Year award.

However, it was the 2019-20 ISL season that must have left him quite disappointed. Throughout the campaign, he played merely five matches and he had come on as a substitute in all of those games. The lad clocked merely 59 minutes on the field and needless to say, had no goal contributions to boast of at the end of the season.

In a recent interview, Eelco Schattorie proclaimed him to be one of the best players in India. Yet, he also stressed on the importance of the former Shillong Lajong professional improving his physicality in order to survive and deliver in a league like the ISL.

This would be the second significant player departure from Kerala Blasters this week, after their captain Sandesh Jhingan parted ways with the franchise a couple of days ago. Khel Now confirmed in the same article that Kerala’s owners have set a shoestring budget for the upcoming ISL season.

It is believed that the senior management of Kerala Blasters would be pushing to prompt the Indian players to take wage cuts due to the COVID-19 situation. According to another exclusive revelation by us, Odisha FC are in talks with former South Africa manager Stuart Baxter to take over the head coach duties at the club. He is apparently Odisha’s first-choice to assume the spot that has been vacant ever since Josep Gombau’s departure in March.