News Article

I-league 2017 Season Review: Shillong Lajong FC

Written by: Himangshu Rajkhowa

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The 10th edition of the I-League saw the rise to prominence of the northeast clubs and the Reds were very much part of that story. . .

Aizawl FC clinched the I-League title proving once again the potential of the Northeast in Indian football. However, Shillong Lajong FC, who were the brand ambassadors of northeast football until now also attained a respectable top five finish, a position better than the previous edition. Lajong made their entry into the I-League during the season 2009-10. Since then, it has been a rollercoaster ride for the Northeast football powerhouse in the league, but they have always maintained their top flight status.

 Fact Sheet of I-League 2016-17

 


 Season Finish: Fifth

 Games Played: 18

Won : 7

Lost : 6

Drawn : 5

Win %: 38.88

   GF: 24

GA: 23

 

 Pre Season

Shillong Lajong have the reputation of giving an opportunity to regional youth talents to prove themselves at the highest level. With its young pool of talent from the northeas region together with some national and international players, Lajong seemed far more solid than the previous occasions, at least on paper.  In keeping with their long-term philosophy of developing Northeast talent, Shillong Lajong went into this season with the vast majority of the team made up of regional players, all of whom have shown tremendous growth in maturity. After seven seasons in the top flight, Lajong, who finished in 5th place, had their best year so far on the back of the exemplary performances of their Under-22 players and foreign signings.

Apart from its pool of young regional players, Lajong also roped in foreign players like Asier Dipanda Dicka (Cameroon), Dan Ignat (Romania) and Yutu Kinowaki (Japan) for the Asian quota position.

 Top 3 Players

 

Asier Dipanda Dicka Vishal Kaith Nim Dorjee Tamang

Shillong Lajong had a good outing in the away matches as well and Dicka made his presence felt in these games by converting his chances into goals, which saw his goal tally soar higher. Dicka has been in exceptional form this season and netted 11 goals in total, which made him the best striker of the league.

 

 

The talented U-22 goalkeeper had one of his best spells of form between the posts and proved his calibre in this season in style. Out of the 18 matches he played, he earned four Man of the Match awards. Conceding a total of 23 goals from 15 matches he managed to keep three clean sheets. Playing every single minute of each and every game for Lajong this season, Kaith proved himself to be a prized asset for his side.  


 

 

The young Lajong outfit certainly exceeded expectations this season winning 7 games and being unbeaten in six consecutive away games. Leading this young team to their best ever position, Nim Dorjee Tamang proved his capacity as a young leader. Tamang captained the side in 14 consecutive games and bagged one Man of the Match award. Cementing the defense for Lajong, Nim perfectly executed every move from Thangboi Singto on the field.

 

Games: 17
Goals: 11

Games: 18
Clean Sheets: 3


Games:
 18
Clean Sheets: 3 



 

 Flop of the Season

Fabio Pena: This was the second consecutive season for Brazilian Fabio Pena at Lajong. He was considered to be a huge threat during set-pieces and his hold up play allowed the midfielders to make runs inside the box. Team Lajong was hoping that he can showcase a similar form like last season but Pena let them down this season with his inconsistency. With only two goals from 15 appearances, he did not justify his paramount importance to the side’s attacking front.

Fabio's Performance in I-League 2016-17 

Matches:15

Goals: 2

 

 Top 3 Performances 


 
 

  1. Chennai City FC 1-4 Shillong Lajong FC (Match Report and Highlights)


  2. Shillong Lajong FC 3-1 Mumbai FC (Match Report & Highlights)




  3. DSK Shivajians 2-3 Shillong Lajong FC (Match Report and Highlights)

 

 

 Coach's Report Card

During this 8-year long association with one of India’s youngest clubs, Thangboi Singto passed through Lajong’s difficult times as well as cherished moments. Prior to the season, with a 33% win record in 43 matches under him, Lajong’s hopes this year in the I-League were mostly dependent on his tactics. After the initial debacle, Lajong were unbeaten for four consecutive matches but in the last 4 games of the season they failed to get full points which cost Singto’s men a top four spot.  So, it was a mixed season as a coach for Singto with lots of ups and downs but by ending the season in 5th position which was their primary aim, Singto kept his word.

 Lesson to be Learned

Lajong do not have enough firepower in their strike force, with lack of diversity and options, they could only score 24 goals from 18 matches of which 11 goals were scored alone by Dicka. If the team has to upgrade next season, it has to inevitably hire some instrumental forwards in their squad. As it is all about scoring goals. Although they created a lot of opportunities in matches they failed to apply the finishing touch. Their away form was quite poor this season with just three wins from 9 games. The team has to improve on that by maintaining a level of intensity in future.

 

 Fan View

 

Diganta Saharia

 

The Northeast is now a hub of talented footballers and we can see a tremendous rise of NE teams in the national football arena. Lajong with Aizawl FC are the pride of this part of the country. As the first team from the NE region to book a spot in India's top league, Lajong have already proved their potential. With 5th position in the current season they achieved their highest ranking in the I-League and Dicka grabing the Golden Boot was like the icing on the cake.

 

 

Published: Sun May 07, 2017 11:24 AM IST

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