Shillong Lajong FC will face Aizawl FC in the Hero I-League 2018 tomorrow at JN Stadium, Polo

Shillong, Oct 27: The Shillong Lajong FC will play host to Aizawl FC in their first game of the Hero I-League on 28th October at the JN Stadium in Shillong at 5PM. The tickets for the match on Sunday will be available at the SSA Ticket Counter in Polo Ground.

Shillong Lajong has so far never lost a home match against the Mizo rivals in the I-League. Previously, on 1st April 2016, Lajong won by 3-1, on 30th April 2017 both sides drew 1-1 and the last time they played each other in Shillong was on 19th February 2018 with the home team emerging victorious by a 2-1 margin.

During the preseason, Lajong had topped the league stage of the Shillong Premier League 2018 and are all set to face Langsning in the final on 2nd November. On the other hand, Aizawl FC is currently sitting in the third place of the ongoing Mizoram Premier League.

For the I-League 2018/19 season, The Reds will field an all Indian line up with only the academy graduates hailing from the North Eastern states. The Club’s philosophy has always been to promote, nurture and give an opportunity to local talents. The Club management has immense faith in their youngsters and believes that it’s their time to shine and showcase their talent at the big footballing stage.

Head coach Alison Kharsyntiew seemed very happy with the management’s decision to go with an all Indian squad. He said, “It’s a good decision taken by the club. The club’s objective has always been to promote and give an opportunity to young Indian players, so this season it is a big test and a big challenge for us.”

He added, “I’m confident with this team as we have been together for 4-5 years now coming from the academy ranks. We have been training together for quite some time now right from the beginning of the SPL and we have reached the final. This SPL has helped us a lot in getting the team shaping together and working on our strengths as well as weaknesses. As long as we are staying together as a team, it’ll be difficult to beat us “.

On the other hand, club captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia is very confident of his young teammates and assures that there is no pressure. He said,”No, there is not any disadvantage about not having foreigners in our team. We are young, full of energy and we are united. We will work hard together as a team and most importantly we will fight for the team and try to be in the best position this I-League season.”

He added, “Even though we are all Indian players if we believe in ourselves we can lift the trophy. We are here together as a family, it’s not a problem for us to be without a foreigner.”

Talking about the first North East Derby of the season, Alison said, “First game is always important. The Northeast derby has always been special. We have been training hard for this game and the players are ready to perform.I’m confident with this team as we have been together for 4-5 years now coming from the academy ranks.”

He further added, “In football, pressure is always there. But it’s good to have pressure as it allows you to put more concentration. At the end of the day, we must be calm and composed and do well in our job. We will take game by game. Realistically, if we finish in top 6 by the end, it will be a huge achievement for us.”

Alison has called for the support of the Lajong Faithfuls for the season and said, “We will play an attacking football and we hope that all our fans will be there in every home game to support the team. I want the fans to be patient, be proud of the team and stick with the team whether the result is in our favour or not.”

Aizawl FC is starting this season with former Neroca head coach Gift Raikhan.  Talking about the game he said, “In terms of preparation, we have been doing good because of the MPL. We have a lot of pressure on us as I know how good these Lajong academy boys are. They are young, and they will run a lot. We cannot relax because the moment we relax we will be in massive danger.”

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