SHILLONG: Shillong Lajong has always produced creative set of football over the years in I-League. The mountainous side in-builded some cracking talents and from here Indian football took up a different improvising look.
Shilong Lajong began the new campaign in the I-League brightly after winning their first two home games. But then find themselves thrashed by East Bengal in the first away fixture of the 2017/18 campaign. In for a turn back sequence, they carried on their excellency by sharing a point against mighty Mohun Bagan and then winning the mountainous derby against Aizawl FC, the rivals who previously carried a descent record in this clash.
Here our correspondent Moinak Banerjee caught up with Lajong’s talented goalkeeper Phurba Tempa Lachenpa, who started from the club’s academy and went on to wear the No 1 shirt this season, about the current proclamation they did in the league so far.
IndiaFooty: First of all Congratulations! Lachenpa! To you and your team for an excellent performance against Aizawl in the mountainous derby. Tell us how significant this victory was for your team?
Lachenpa: Thank you very much! For us this was an important victory as with this victory we are in top two in the table and it’s always great to win away from home and that’s also in a derby so we are glad that we got an important three points. Last year we lost the derby away to Aizawl so this was a great win for us.
IndiaFooty: Also you snatched a point out of a strengthened Mohun Bagan side and now a win against the Champions. What are these events declare about Shillong’s target in the new campaign?
Lachenpa: We are taking one game each by keeping the team’s goals to finish as good position as we can, but it’s too soon to tell but obviously we have dreams and it’s obviously the best after the league is over.
IndiaFooty: Was that defeat to East Bengal was sort of a turning point for you all? To gear up for rest of the games?
Lachenpa: We don’t think it was a turning point it’s just that we had a bad game and I-League is a competitive league so obviously some results are bound to go that way.
IndiaFooty: Last season Vishal Keith played a prominent role in between the sticks. Now he is playing for ISL. How do you feel to wear that jersey and as a contributor of your role?
Lachenpa: The club and the coach believed in me so there was no reason to take any pressure, I just had to play my natural game and I’m doing that and I have a long way to go ahead.
IndiaFooty: Some of the main players in Lajong’s squad departed either for ISL or chose playing for heavyweights in the I-League. How you all cope up with all of this for the preparation of this campaign? Was it a blessing for young starlets to shine on big stage?
Lachenpa: The club has one of the best youth setups in India and we as a player believed in the management and every year there are player coming out from academy and each player know each other well so there is nothing much to cope and talking about opportunity for young players Lajong has always given opportunity to young players, you can take for last few seasons we were the youngest squad so opportunity it’s always there for young players in Lajong whatever the circumstances are in Indian football.
IndiaFooty: Thank you Lachenpa it’s been a pleasure to converse with you in this delirious interview. Last of all, what do you want to exclaim about the state of Indian football?
Lachenpa: It’s my pleasure and as a player and football fan we just want best for the Indian football.