The reigning champions are sixth in the table with five games to play.

Reigning I-League champions Aizawl FC have sacked Portuguese coach Paulo Meneses. The club from Mizoram has not managed to live up to expectations this year after their dream run last season. Aizawl FC made history last season when under the tutelage of Khalid Jamil the club won its maiden I-league trophy.

Jamil then left the club for Kolkata giants East Bengal and in came Portuguese tactician Paulo Meneses. Meneses tried his best with whatever resources he had at his disposal, but a 7-match winless run was enough for club officials to relieve him of his duties.

Aizawl also sold many of their key player from last season and many of the new youngsters were very inexperienced and played their debut season under the 39-year old coach. Aizawl FC also lost their most influential player H Lalmuankima in the transfer window to FC Goa and that hampered their results as well.

Under Meneses, Aizawl played a good brand of football and it was just that they lacked a proper goalscorer upfront. The Mizoram-based club gained 17 points from 13 games and the recent winless streak increased pressure on the head coach.

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Speaking exclusively to Goal, Meneses said, “This is completely unfair. Most of the experienced players had left. We had only youth players in our team and most of them did not have prior experience of playing in the I-League. We played the best brand of football. We just failed to put the ball in the net. We lost too many players with injuries. Moreover, our key player H Lalmuankima went on to join FC Goa after he played well with us.”

He further added, “The level of performance the board is expecting with this team it is not possible to achieve with this team. I have always asked for better and experienced players. At times they did not feel the need to reply to my requests. Other times they simply lied to me. For example, they said they are in talks with an ex-East Bengal player but when I contacted the player, he said that nobody from Aizawl contacted him,” said Paulo.

Meneses also claimed to have the support of the Aizawl dressing room as he pointed out, “”I can confidently say that the whole team is with me. When I broke the news to them they were shocked and said that they will miss me.”

Aizawl FC are currently placed 6th on the league table but have played fewer matches than Shillong Lajong who are sitting at the 5th position for the time being.