Shillong Lajong FC

  (Redirected from Shillong Lajong F.C.)

Shillong Lajong Football Club, formerly known as Lajong SC,[4] is an Indian professional football club, based in Shillong, Meghalaya,[5] that competes in the Shillong Premier League.[6] The club was established in 1983 with the prime objective of improving the declining standard of football in the state, and to spot, train and nurture local talent.[7] In the local Khasi language, Lajong translates to "our own".[8] They have also competed in the I-League,[9][10][11] then top flight of Indian football league system.[12]

Shillong Lajong FC
Official Shillong Lajong FC Logo.png
Full nameShillong Lajong Football Club[1]
Nickname(s)The Red Dragons[2]
Founded1983; 39 years ago (1983), as Lajong Sports Club[3]
GroundNehru Stadium, Shillong, Meghalaya
Capacity30,000
OwnerShillong Lajong Pvt. Ltd.
ChairmanP. D. Sawyan
LeagueShillong Premier League

Headquartered in Shillong,[13] Lajong has access to the largest student population in the North-East and hence the football talent right from a young age.[14] Lajong is under professional management and has a strong fan base across the North-East, which is being actively developed. Shillong Lajong had an average attendance of 11,308 for the 2021 of I-League. The club is four time champions of regional Shillong Premier League.[15][16]

Shillong Lajong were the first club from the North East region of India to rise to prominence in the country.[17] Then before the 2012–13 I-League season began it was officially announced that Shadap had signed his first professional contract with Shillong Lajong after his impressive performance in the North East Super Series during pre-season.[18] Though Aizawl FC caught most of the attention after their I-League title in 2016, it was Lajong who were the torch-bearers of northeastern football for a large part of the decade.[19][20]

HistoryEdit

Formation and journeyEdit

During the finals of the Meghalaya Invitation Cup in 1982, two football enthusiasts Shri Kitdor Syiem and Shri P. D. Sawyan saddened by the continuous failure of the Shillong teams to make it to the final stages of the tournament formed a football club to reverse the trend.[21][22]

Together with a group of friends and supporters, they commissioned a semi-professional club aptly called Lajong Football Club, literally translating into "Our own" or "of the people".[23][24] The club was also known as Lajong Sports Social and Cultural Club.[25][26]

In 1983, the club played in the 3rd Division of the Shillong Sports Association League and was the champion being then promoted to the 2nd Division and similarly the same year in 1984 was promoted to the First Division of the league. Things started to change rapidly after the title clash for the Shillong Championship was inevitably poised against the Blue Max FC another professionally organized club which later changed itself Langsning SC of today. It was only in 1989 that Lajong FC finally annexed the championship for the first time.

In 1990, Lajong FC became the Meghalaya Invitation Cup champion beating Nabajyoti FC the Guwahati champions in the finals, seven years after its maiden entry.

 
Lajong players (in white) in action against East Bengal at the Durand Cup, in New Delhi, 2009.

In 2009, Lajong FC joined the I-League 2nd Division which is the second highest national league in India. After one season in the second division Lajong was promoted to the I-League, which is the highest league in India.

Shillong Lajong gained promotion to the I-League for the 2009–10 season, and had appointed former Salgaocar and East Bengal coach Stanley Rozario for their first season in India's top flight.[27][28]

They played their first match in I-League in 2009 and lost to JCT FC 1–5. In their first ever home match in the I-League, they defeated Air India 3–0 in front of 30,000 people. In their second home match, they lost to Mohun Bagan 2–1, in front of a home crowd of 30,000.

At the end of the I-League season, Shillong was relegated to the 2nd division of I-League, the I-League 2nd Division after finishing the season in last place.

2010–presentEdit

In the 2009–10 Indian Federation Cup, Shillong Lajong reached to the final but lost to East Bengal through penalty-shootout.[29][30]

For the 2011 season, Shillong Lajong, managed by Pradyum Reddy, participated in the I-League 2nd Division. Due to Shillong hosting the 2011 I-League 2nd Division Final Round, they were able to skip the group stages and go straight into the Final Round.[31]

They ended their one-year stint in the I-League 2nd Division with a 1–0 victory over Mohammedan SC on 13 May 2011, after which they got promoted back to the I-League for 2011–12, and appointed Scottish manager Desmond Bulpin as their new head coach.[32][33][34]

 
Thangboi Singto as manager of Shillong Lajong in 2014

In June 2013, the club roped former Trinidadian international Cornell Glen as their foreign recruit who represented his country at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.[35][36] Thus he became the club's first ever World cupper. In the 2013–14 I-League, on 22 September 2013, Lajong thrashed Dempo SC by 3–0.[37]

 
Penn Orji with Shillong Lajong in an I-League match at the Cooperage Ground in 2015.

In regional stages, Shillong achieved success and emerged as the champions of Shillong Premier League in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2019.[38][39][40] They also emerged champions of the Bodousa Cup in 2016 defeating Assam State Electricity Board SC by 2–0.[41]

Ahead of the 2017–18 I-League season, the club built a strong squad, signing up six foreigners; Lawrence Doe, Abdoulaye Koffi,[42][43] Daniel Odafin, Saihou Jagne[44] and Asian quota player Oh Joo-ho from South Korea.[45][46]

Alison Kharsyntiew was appointed as interim head coach of Shillong Lajong for the Super Cup, following the dismissal of Bobby Nongbet.[47] His first game in charge was on 4 April 2018 against Indian Super League side, Pune City. Despite going down by two goals early in the match, Shillong Lajong came back to win the match 3–2.[48] Going into the 2018–19 season, Kharsyntiew was announced as the club's head coach.[49] His first league match in charge was on 28 October 2018 against Aizawl. A brace from Naorem Mahesh Singh saw Shillong Lajong win 2–1.[50]

The 2018–19 I-League season was not suitable for Shillong Lajong as they were relegated from the league after they suffered a 1–4 defeat at the hands of former champions Aizawl FC in the last match.[51][52] In that season, Lajong fielded an all Indian squad and appointed Spaniard José Carlos Hevia as technical director and head of youth development.[53][54]

At the end of league, Lajong remained at the bottom of the 11-team I-League with 11 points from 19 matches Even if they beat Mohun Bagan A.C. at home.[55] Lajong ended their campaign at the last place as their immediate better-placed sides Gokulam Kerala FC finished on 10th with 17 points from 19 matches.[56][57][58] They won the Fair Play Award.[59][60]

In 2019 Shillong Premier League, they again emerged as the champions with 27 points in 12 matches.[61][62]

Shillong derbyEdit

Shillong Lajong FC shares a rivalry with their fellow Shillong-based side Royal Wahingdoh, whom they faced in the I-League previously and face in Shillong Premier League regularly.

Competition Shillong Lajong wins Draw Royal Wahingdoh wins
I-League 0 1 1
Federation Cup 1 0 0
Shillong Premier League 1 0 0
Total 2 1 1

Crest and coloursEdit

Nicknamed the Red Dragons, club's official colours are red and white.[65][66][67] The home jersey is all red, while the away jersey is all white.[68]

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsorsEdit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2009—10   Adidas[69]   Nokia
2010—14   Aircel
2014—17   Gionee[70][71]
2017—18   Nivia[72]
2018—19   Lotto   McDowell's[73]
2019—20   T10 Sports
2021—present   Lotto

Home groundEdit

Shillong Lajong primarily use the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong,[74][75][76] as their home stadium for games in Shillong Premier League.[77][78] They have also used this venue for the games of the older editions of the I-League.[79][80][81] The stadium has Astroturf, and has a capacity of 30,000 spectators.[82]

Notable playersEdit

Foreign playersEdit

RecordEdit

Season Div. Tms. Pos. Attendance/G Federation Cup/Super Cup Durand Cup AFC Champions League AFC Cup
2016–17 I-League 10 5 6,244 Group stage DNP DNP DNP
2017–18 I-League 10 6 5,464 Quarter-finals DNP DNP DNP
2018–19 I-League 11 11 4,123 DNP DNP DNP
Key
  • Tms. = Number of teams
  • Pos. = Position in league
  • Attendance/G = Average league attendance

HonoursEdit

LeagueEdit

CupEdit

YouthEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit