The Lajong boss is confident of a good season ahead for the Reds…

Northeast powerhouse Shillong Lajong commence their record seventh successive I-League campaign away to defending champions Bengaluru FC.

Speaking to the media ahead of the game to be played at Kanteerava Stadium tomorrow, manager Thangboi Singto seemed confident of a good season for the club. “I believe it’s a good opportunity to do better this season,” he said.

Lajong have roped in three foreigners who will make their club debut in tomorrow’s match. These are Romanian defender Dan Gelu Ignat, Japanese midfielder Yuta Kinowaki and Cameroonian striker Aser Pierrick Dipanda. Meanwhile, Fabio Pena Henrique has been brought back by the club for which he scored 7 crucial goals in 2015-16.

The club also welcomed back seasoned professional and local favourite Rocus Lamare, who brings with him a great deal of experience that will undeniably benefit his younger teammates significantly. That guiding role will be crucial in this season, as in past years, the Reds will put their faith in a squad made up largely of youngsters from the club academy who have proven their worth. This year will see Phurba Tempa Lachenpa, Sheen Stevenson Sohktung, Allen Lyngdoh and Novin Gurung get their golden tickets to the I-League where they join their fellow young prospects Vishal Kaith, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Sh Sandeep Singh, Samuel Shadap, Pritam Kumar Singh, Rupert Nongrum, Jacob Lalrawngbawla, Joseph Lalfakzuala, Lalrammuana, Th Bipin Singh, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Redeem Tlang, Chinglensanna, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Milan Basumatary, Hardy Cliff Nongbri, Zodingliana and Alen Deory.

On being asked whether he had the opportunity to assess the strength and weaknesses of other top flight teams going into the new season Singto said, “Most teams have built up their squad last month only and it is difficult to know their strengths or weaknesses. But we go forward with a positive optimism on our own strength.”

He further said, “We have a good balanced team this year with valuable experience added with youthful exuberance and talent. The right result in terms of field performance is what we need to fulfil.”

“We need to do much better defensively and score more goals as compared to the last season. The team building is done with that thought in process”, he added.

(With inputs from Shillong Lajong Media)