The North East zone of the U18 I-League commenced on Friday, 30 October, with Royal Wahingdoh beating Sports Authority of India (SAI) 3-0 in the first game in Shillong. On Saturday, Wahingdoh's local rivals Shillong Lajong will begin their campaign against Guwahati FC, who are playing in the league for the first time.
Having won the U19 Shillong Premier League earlier this year, the Lajong team come into the tournament as one of the favourites for the title. Last season, some of these players had featured in the side that lifted the Shillong Premier League title.
With quite a few players of the club also having featured in the I-League with the senior side, there is no doubting their title credentials. The team is being coached by Alison Kharsyntiew and former goalkeeper Gumpe Rime, who is the current Head of Youth Development at the club.
"The boys have been training very hard and have been giving good performances during their training sessions. We hope that they continue to remain consistent throughout the league and have the fighting spirit in them and play as a team," head coach Kharsyntiew stated in the club's media briefing on Friday.
Meanwhile, defender Mebankhraw Wallang has been selected as the club's captain for the league. "Meban is a leader in the team. He encourages and motivates his team mates through his performances on the pitch. We believe that he has the potential to lift up the spirits of the boys and give confidence in the team," Kharsyntiew explained.