Is Shillong Lajong on its way out of Top League Football ?
The stands are empty and the passion of the yesteryears have vanished.Shillong Lajong which for years were the torch bearers of football in the Northeast of India finally seem to be exiting the top flight in Indian Football.
The defeat against Mumbai FC recently has firmly pegged Shillong Lajong in the last spot in the I League and it seems that the team will most likely be relegated unless they beat Kingfisher East Bengal in their last match.
The task sure seems uphill though as the Kolkata team is at the 3rd place with 25 points .
The road for Shillong Lajong has been an uphill task in the last year or so with top foreign players like Minchol son and Cornell Glenn leaving the club (Both of them have done an amazing job for their new clubs since leaving Lajong).
Their replacement have not been able to deliver and the inability to score goals has hurt Lajong quite badly.
Even the Shillong Lajong management seem pretty worried and came out with this statement
'We are deeply gutted with the 2-1 loss in Mumbai yesterday. This coming Sunday will be a crucial match when we host East Bengal at the JN Stadium at 7pm. Also we are deeply humbled and overwhelmed seeing so many Lajong Faithfuls cheering for us in Mumbai on Sunday. We are immensely grateful for your love and support. And special thanks to Khasis in Mumbai. Unfortunately the result didn't go how we expected it to be but surely we will fight hard for survival in our last home game of the season on Sunday. We hope all of you will be there to witness the match and continue to give us your support!"
But now the major question looms is that will Lajong have it in them to bounce back because the financial situation in the I League does not justify the spending of clubs.Last year after an impressive run Royal Wahingdoh decided to opt out of the I league as the top division according to the owners lacked a vision.The emergence of ISL has also greatly hurt the popularity of the I league and if Shillong Lajong does get relegated then it is a body blow for football in the region and the state of Meghalaya .
Unconfirmed reports suggest that if Lajong gets relegated then in future rather than concentrating in I League football ,Shillong Lajong may concentrate in developing grassroots football and the Shillong League(Something which Royal Wahingdoh also stated when they opted out last year)
It does look like the dark clouds over Northeast this monsoon has some ominous signs for this football crazy region sadly it seems like the thunder has gone out for the time being.