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NEROCA FC wins big at AIFF awards; Lajong captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia gets emerging player award
I-League season 2017-18 debutantes NEROCA FC won most of the individual awards at the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) Awards held in Chandigarh on Thursday.
The Manipur-based side finished the season narrowly behind champions Minerva Punjab FC in the recently concluded I-League 2017-18 season.
Four of the nine awards went to NEROCA, who are the first club from Manipur to take part in the premier competition. These included the Syed Abdul Rahim Award for Best Coach to Gift Raikhan, Jarnail Singh Award for Best Defender to Varney K Kallon, Best Match Organiser and Fairplay Award.
“I am very happy that we as a club got all these awards. This shows how hard we worked together on and off the field. It reflects teamwork. First, I thank my guiding light Jesus Christ, secondly the people of Manipur and lastly, the team management including the club owner and CEO Naoba Singh, and all the people who have worked day in and day out to make this happen,” a Times of India story quoted coach Raikhan as saying.
Apart from NEROCA, Shillong Lajong FC captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia won the best emerging player (U-22) award.
Commenting on the award, the Shillong Lajong management said, “Shillong Lajong FC congratulates the 19-year-old captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia on winning the Emerging Player of the Year Award for the I-League 2017-18 season.”
The Lajong Academy product scored three goals, assisted four and made 17 match appearances in the I-League 2017-18 season. He scored a stunning free kick against East Bengal in Kolkata on December 9, 2017, converted a penalty thus netting his second goal against Mohun Bagan on December 14, 2017 in Kolkata and his third goal was also from a penalty kick in the last game of the season against East Bengal in Shillong on March 5.
Samuel Lalmuanpuia scored his first ever I-League goal at the age of 17 against Aizawl FC on April 1, 2016 in Shillong and was the League’s youngest scorer during that season and remains Shillong Lajong’s youngest goal scorer in the I-League.
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