Shillong Lajong FC academy: A storehouse of skillful footballers in India
~~~~ By Natasha Dkhar
Shillong Lajong FC was established in the year 1983 with the distant dream of its two pioneers to take football from the region to its great heights. The club had a long way to go from then on. After establishing itself predominantly in the football scene in Meghalaya as well in the Northeast Indian Region in the 90's, the rise of the club took its way from 2000 millennium onwards.
Despite the many untrodden paths the club had to take, yet in the year 2007, Shillong Lajong FC began a new journey by setting up a football academy with its main motive – the development of football with an emphasis and concentration on the youths from the region.
Keeping in mind the abundant talent from the region, the club solely aims to develop the game right from the grass root levels. Under the watchful eyes of professionals, rigorous training and development is undergone in the academy. From then on the academy has left no stone unturned and has been instrumental in grooming and transforming many players who are the future stars of Indian Football.
Beginning with a U-14 team the academy has incorporated more junior divisions from U-12 to U-19 levels and with all these junior divisions the academy has made their presence felt in various state, national, international competitions as well. While the senior counterparts are busy achieving trophies the juniors are also achieving great heights from winning the India leg Manchester United Premier Cup (U-15) to representing India at Old,Trafford Manchester Finals,to being part of the Indian team at the Inter Milan Youth Tournament and Bayern Munich Youth Cup and so on the academy players have given their best shot to achieve greatness.
- Being part of the Indian team at the Inter Milan Youth Tournament and Bayern Munich Youth Cup
- Winning the India leg of the Manchester United Premier Cup (U-15) and representing India at the world finals at Old Trafford, Manchester
- Winning the Tottenham Leap start Tournament (U-14)
- Champions of the U-19 Shillong Premier League 2011 & 2015
- Winners of the Meghalaya Football Players Association Tournament 2011 (U-16)
- Winners of the All India Invitation Football Championship 2013 (Golaghat Assam)
- Champions of the Shillong Premier League Super Division 2014 & 2015…(Data analysis from Shillong Lajong FC Website)
With the above achievements many academy players have gone to be part of the Indian National team in many levels.With an average age of just 20 many players from the academy have now become part of the senior team that represents in one of the highest tournaments in the country: I-League.
Some of the prominent academy players that Lajong have produced over the years are Nim Dorjee Tamang, Rupert Nongrum, Samuel Shadap, Redeem Tlang, Shaiborlang Kharpan, Samuel lalmuanpuia, Zodingliana, Bipin Singh, Jacob, Lalramuana, Hardy Cliff Nongbri, Alen Deory, Vishal Kaith, Pritam Kumar Singh, Issac Vanmalsawma, Joseph, Aiban Dohling, Milan Basumatry, Chinglensana Singh and Sandeep Singh.
So what makes Lajong FC academy one of the best academies in India?
Well with the recent draft pick in the ISL 2017-2018 edition,seven players from Shillong Lajong FC were picked by different ISL teams.These players were once upon a time products of the academy.
The seven Lajong players that were transferred to ISL clubs during the draft have so far fetched the club a cumulative sum of about 3 crores. That can be put into context with the money that the lowest spenders in the draft, FC Goa, parted with according to data from Khel Now Football India.
Shillong Lajong also created history by becoming the first Indian club to break the 1 crore barrier in terms of revenue from player transfers this year. The Reds amassed record revenue of about 1.5 crores by virtue of selling their players to ISL clubs, suggesting that the club's working model is among the best in Indian football. Shillong Lajong have also add another feather in the cap of Northeastern football by being India's highest money-making club.
The seven players are all on their early 20's (Chinglesena Singh Kosham, Rupert Nongrum, Samuel Shadap, Pritam Singh Soreisam, Bipin Singh, Nim Dorjee Tamang and Isaac Vanmalsawma) and still have a long way to go. But this only shows how an academy from the Northeast region can produce future stars that can compete with national as well as international counterparts.
Despite losing some of the lot, Shillong Lajong FC have etched such legacy that any kid from the region would love to join this academy.The mission of the club is forever continuing in transforming many more boys into capable players to take on challenges in an ever demanding football arena.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles is that of the writer and not that of TNT-The Northeast Today