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The story of Rungsing Muinao-The rising star of Meghalaya football

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A young football prodigy who has taken the different tiers of Meghalayan football league by storm...

When Rungsing Muinao first moved to Shillong in 2012, he was just a 15 year-old-lad with small luggage, some money and prayers from home for the pursuit of better education in the Scotland of the East.

Fast forward 4 years and he’s about to graduate from college and is clearly one of the best strikers in Meghalaya’s elite football league, the Gionee Shillong Premier League.

‘Never in my wildest dream did I think I was going to come to Shillong and play for a club here.’ he says.

‘It was solely for studying that I came here and whatever has happened is just amazing.’

Still in the early stages of his career, Rungsing has taken different tiers of the football league in Meghalaya by a storm.

He was first signed by Laitumkhrah FC in 2013. A friend of his, who often practiced in the evening with him at Fire Brigade field, took him to the trials of the club and he was tied up by Laimukhrah FC right on the very first morning. The fact that he was just 16 wasn’t at all reflected in the way he played and maybe Nongthymmai FC (The club he first tried for in Shillong), who left him out of their final squad, was left scratching their heads as Rungsing had a scintillating debut season.

He got his sweet revenge too by beating the same team that rejected his services.  His debut season in Shillong’s second division saw him score 10 goals and amassing more than 10 assists as he helped Laitumkhrah FC gain promotion to the 1st Division.

His performance was rewarded with a contract extension by Laitumkhrah FC in 2014 and he was pivotal yet again, as he scored 9 goals and propelled Laitumkhrah FC to the state’s elite league: Shillong Premier League. Life in Shillong’s elite league was however hard for his team and they couldn’t stay up in the Shillong Premier League for more than one season and they were relegated in 2015. However, in a season that saw Laimukhrah FC go very low in returns of goal, Rungsing still managed to score 6 goals, the highest amongst his club mates.

Rungsing’s former manager from Laimukhrah FC who had moved to Royal Wahingdoh as a goalkeeper coach was very impressed by his meteoric rise and upon his recommendation, Royal Wahingdoh signed the youngster in 2016 with his contact running for one season.

Joining Royal Wahingdoh at just 19 years and leading the lines of a former I-League team comes with a huge responsibility, but Rungsing didn’t falter as he responded to his manager’s faith by scoring on his debut for Wahindgoh in the Gionee Shillong Premier League. Affectionately called Rex by his Royal teammates; the youngster went on to make a string of appearances off the bench.

Rungsing is one to watch for the future.....

However, as the season progressed and with the senior strikers failing to convert most of their chances; the manager had no choice but to give Rungsing his first team chances. Rungsing, raring to show the manager his worth grabbed his chance with both hands, putting in a string of impressive performance as a first team player and made the number 9 position his own, scoring 10 goals and laying as many assists over the course of the season. He was however unable to inspire Royal Wahingdoh to a league title as they lost out to bitter rivals Rangdajied in the second leg of the semi-finals. Rangdajied was beaten by Lajong as Lajong lifted their third consecutive league title.

‘Missing out on the title still hurts but my focus is on what’s in the future’ he says as we talked over a cup of evening tea.

For a blossoming player like him, the sky really is the limit and keeping his feet on the ground won’t be a problem for this humble lad who is a staunch believer (Christian).

"I’ve committed everything in the hands of God; everything I do comes from Him and all that I do is for the Glory of his name," Rungsing says.

His unwavering is reflected in the way he was brought up by his parents as Rungsing mentions his parents and family members still call him up the morning of every match-day and pray for him over the phone.

‘I think what they do is priceless; it gives me such confidence and strength going into the match.’

Apart from being a man of faith, he is a strong believer that nothing comes by easy and that only hard work, persistence and a little bit of talent pays off at the end of the day.

Right from the early days as a kid when he would wake up at dawn to practice alone to this day where he stays back after training to put in more shifts of sessions to perfect his finishing and keep himself fit; walking that extra mile has always been his niche.

When KhelNow.com asked him what gives him the motivation to work hard and put in that extra bit in every training session, he says it’s the support rendered by his fans and their faith in him that propels him to get better.

Asked about how he tries to improve himself and his relationship with coaches, he said,

‘To be honest, I am very critical towards myself’

‘I ask the coaches each day what my weaknesses are and try to improve on it physically or tactically. Every time the coach is unhappy with the way I play, I don’t hide under the table but approach them and we (him and the coaches) work on it together.’

‘I talk with the coaches every time and I think it helps in setting a good relationship with them’

With his contract running out in April next year and his club failing to table a contract extension until now, KhelNow.com asked him what’s next and where he has his sights set on he smiled and replied, "I’m enjoying here at the moment and I’ll leave it to the club to settle that. I’ll just continue to do the talking on the pitch and hopefully I can pick up where I left off when I get back after the winter break."

"As for the near future, I don’t know where my performances will take me but I would love to play in the I-League (If it’s still there in the near future) or the ISL (Indian Super League) one day."

Shillong Lajong FC's coach Thangboi Singto has seen Rungsing's rise over the last few years, being at the receiving end in various games of the Shillong Pro-League. The coach, still, speaks highly of the diminutive player. Singto says, "Talent is there, that's obvious but it's about the opportunities he gets. He's done well and if he continues to play like that he'll definitely get somewhere."

The future clearly is bright for this young Tangkhul lad who will be wearing his graduation robe come May. And when he turns 20 in July, little is left to the imagination if he will be celebrating a contract extension with Royal Wahingdoh or potentially signing for a new club in Shillong or elsewhere. Only time will tell.

Published: Thu Feb 02, 2017 09:14 PM IST

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