Shillong Lajong FC have confirmed that their young striker Samuel Lalmuanpuia, who made his debut in the recently-concluded I-League season, is the youngest ever goalscorer in the history of the I-League.
At Lajong FC, Samuela has won the Shillong Premier League Super Division in 2014, U-19 Shillong Premier League in July 2015 and the Shillong Premier League Super Division in November 2015.
The young, cheerful striker from Mizoram made 11 appearances in Lajong’s Shillong Premier League triumph last year and scored 10 goals with 3 further assists. On seeing his potential, excellent football skills and confidence in front of goal, he was then given the opportunity to play in the Club’s senior team.
Samuel, who regards his father as his inspiration in life, made his first I-League appearance against DSK Shivajians FC in Pune and played 11 out of a total of 14 I-League matches. He scored his first top flight goal in the North East Derby against his former team Aizawl FC on March 1, 2016 in Shillong. Lajong won the Derby 3-1.
With this goal, the 17-year-old striker became the youngest ever goalscorer in I-League history. The club is proud to have Samuela Lalmuanpuia set a record for himself in the I-League as well as set an example to many other young football aspirants across the region and the country.
Samuel speaking on achieving such a big feat at a very young age said, “I am very thankful to my club for giving me the chance to grow as a player and the opportunity to be part of the senior team.”
“It’s every young footballers dream to play in a big stage at a senior national level and without the support and believe that the club has in me it wouldn’t have been possible to reach where I have today.”
“It felt great to score my first I-League goal in my third match appearance against Aizawl FC. I kept pushing myself very hard in training as I was really determined to score for my club and help the team be in a good position.”
“But this doesn’t stop here and I am only getting started. I want to grow more with Lajong, play more matches and learn new things every day. I wish to make improvements in departments where I lack, gain more confidence and hopefully I get a chance to don the National Team colours as well,” Samuel concluded.
Samuel wasn’t the only young Red to get his name on the score sheet this season, with Chinglensana Singh and Isaac Vanmalsawma recording similar success.
Chinglensana, who joined the Lajong Youth Academy from Tata Football Academy in the summer of 2015, won the Shillong Premier League with Lajong FC in his debut season itself. He then made his I-League debut on January 10 against Mumbai FC in Shillong.
The central defender from Manipur scored his first I-League goal against Mohun Bagan in Lajong’s 2-2 draw in Kolkata and netted his second in the Federation Cup first-leg match at home against East Bengal Club.
Meanwhile, Isaac, a midfielder from Mizoram, also made his I-League debut this season and scored a most crucial goal, which also happened to be the winner, against East Bengal in Lajong FC’s final home game of the I-League season on April 24.
Lajong young guns, namely Nim Dorjee Tamang, Rupert Nongrum, Vishal Kaith, Pritam Kumar Singh, Samuel Shadap, Redeem Tlang, Zodingliana, Bipin Singh, Jacob Lalrawngbawla, Lalramuana and Joseph Lalfakzuala, have already made their I-League debuts in the previous seasons and they continue to play a big role in the club’s senior team.
In the 2015-16 season many other youngsters got the opportunity to make their senior team debut, namely Milan Basumatary, Hardy Cliff Nongbri, Aibanbhakupar Dohling and Alen Deory.
The national football season has come to an end for Shillong Lajong FC this year, who ended the I-League in sixth place and reached the Federation Cup semifinal stage, but the junior team, drawn from the Academy, are getting into the full swing of things and are currently playing in the U-18 Shillong Premier League.