BENGALURU: In Meghalaya’s Khasi language, Lajong translates to “our own”. As a matter of great coincidence, Shillong Lajong will have to contend with a couple of ‘their own’ players when they take on Bengaluru FC in their I-League clash under lights at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday.
Lajong has a huge fan base back home. Many students and the people who have come to Bengaluru in search of jobs or even have one, will flock to the stadium to cheer their team. They will also have the joy of watching some of their own in the BFC ranks.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh signed for Shillong Lajong in 2011 from Rangdajied United. He is now the main goal-scorer with three important strikes for BFC, apart from the one in the AFC Champions League. Goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte has been coach Ashley Westwood’s first choice so far. He hasn’t been very impressive though. Ralte played for Lajong in 2011-12. Lalchhuhanmawia played for Lajong from 2012 to 2014 and made 30 appearances. He is with BFC now.
That apart, Malemngamba Meetei, Thoi Singh, Siam Hanghal (all Manipur) and Beikhokhei Beingaichho (Mizoram) from their North East neighbours form the core of the BFC team.
As such, in a way it could well be Lajong vs Lajong. Yet, in the 2006 World Cupper Cornell Glen of Trinidad and Tobago, Penn Orji of Nigeria and Brazilian Ulliams Souza, the visitors have an experienced set who can provide good support to the young brigade and trouble BFC.
The I-League holders haven’t got off the blocks as fluently as they would have wanted. The campaign so far has been unconvincing though they went down fighting to Johor FC in the AFC Champions League.
They have had problems in central midfield with Josh Walker not being able to man it with the authority and intelligence that John Menyongor did last season. Thoi Singh and Lyngdoh have done well on the flanks.