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Shillong boys take the road back home to I-League

Marlangki Suiting and Romeo Sukhlain-better known as team mates at New Delhi Heroes’s — began their football in obscure fields in the valleys of Shillong.

Written by Saikat Sarkar | New Delhi |
June 17, 2009 1:21:31 am

Marlangki Suiting and Romeo Sukhlain — better known as team mates at New Delhi Heroes’s — began their football in obscure fields in the valleys of Shillong. Around seven years ago,the pair decided to leave the picturesque locations for the opportunity to play a higher level of football,and they managed to find their way to one of the Capital’s better-known clubs. But the arrival of Lajong FC on the Indian football map changed the perception of clubs from their city,and both Suiting and Sukhlain have made the move back home.

The club’s arrival on the I-League map has thrown open a competitive field,where a player from that part of the world can hope to be a Bhaichung Bhutia,a Sunil Chhetri or a Gourmangi Singh,without travelling to Kolkata or Goa.

“I came to Lajong when I was 16. I remember our boss (Larsing Ming) motivating us after every defeat by saying we’ll play in the I-League. We had to leave at some point but now it’s unbelievable that they will be playing in the I-league,” says Marlangki,who has also played for Mohun Bagan,East Bengal and Fransa.

“On the back of our minds,we always know that we can play for Lajong anytime we want to. After Fransa (2003) I didn’t get a contract immediately. I played for Lajong for some time before signing East Bengal. I was in a similar situation after spending just six months at East Bengal and Lajong’s doors were still open,” Marlangki says.

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It feels like home,but there are other reasons for the striker’s reluctance to play in Delhi. “I don’t know what to say. I just want to say I was sure of leaving Delhi and I don’t want to play there. Playing for a home club was always a dream and I was just waiting for them to qualify. This is why I didn’t give any other club official my number,” Marlangki says,adding,“For now,I’m satisfied as this is the best time for me to play. In Lajong it’s easier to find yourself in the first XI than East Bengal or Dempo. Apart from that,I’ve been away from home for many years and I just want to be here for some time.”

While Lajong general secretary Larsing takes pride in calling the boys home and describing them as products of his club,Romeo keeps it more straightforward,saying,“For me,the biggest thing is playing in the I-League with my home team,” Romeo says.

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First published on: 17-06-2009 at 01:21:31 am

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