Football’s future bright in Mizoram, says Atletico de Kolkata’s Lalrindika Ralte
There were 13 players in ISL3 from Mizoram that has, according to a 2011 census report, a population of less than 2 crore, making it India’s least populous state after Sikkim.football Updated: Dec 11, 2016 19:23 IST
Lalrindika Ralte said he is confident that the number of footballers from Mizoram at the highest level will only increase with time.
“The more we do well, the more people will take to football. Anyway, there is a lot of interest in the sport back home,” said the wide left midfielder for Atletico de Kolkata and East Bengal here on Sunday.
“Look at Jerry (Lalrinzuala), Sena (Ralte), Daniel (Lalhlimpuia); there are so many of them, mostly young, who have done well in ISL3,” said Ralte. Add Ralte, 24, and Jeje Lalpelkhlua, a striker described by Diego Forlan as a strong player who knows how to keep the ball and score, and you get a formidable list.
There were 13 players in ISL3 from Mizoram that has, according to a 2011 census report, a population of less than 2 crore, making it India’s least populous state after Sikkim. But along with Manipur, Punjab and Bengal, Mizoram are among the best represented states in the Indian Super League (ISL).
Last season, the players, mostly Mizos, experienced the I-League for the first time. I told the management to look at foreign players with I-League experience.
Ralte even said Aizawl FC, who were retained in the I-League despite being relegated last term for being runners-up in the Federation Cup, would be wiser for the experience this time. “Last season, the players, mostly Mizos, experienced the I-League for the first time. More importantly, even the foreigners were not experienced. I told the management to look at foreign players with I-League experience. Given that they were difficult to beat at home and the boost they got by finishing second in the Federation Cup, I think they will do well this time,” he said.
Around this time last year, Ralte was recovering from surgery following a knee injury during pre-seasons at East Bengal. Off match play for over one year, he took tentative steps in the Kolkata league with East Bengal and has now made 11 appearances for ATK.
- ATK: Robert Lalthlamuana, Lalrindika Ralte.
- CFC: Jerry Lalrinzuala, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Jeje Lalpekhlua.
- Delhi Dynamos: Lalchhawnkima, Malsawmzuala.
- FC Pune City: Zodingliana Ralte.
- Mumbai City FC: Lalchluanmawia Fanai, David Lalrinmuana, Lalmangaihsanga Ralte.
- NEUFC: Lalrempuia Fanai, Lallianzuala Chhangte.
“The injury and recovery took a lot of time. Now, barring the odd pain in the knee, I feel 100%,” he said. Ralte played for Mumbai City FC in the first season of ISL.
The ISL is yet to see one of Ralte’s trademark strikes, cutting in from the right and opening his shoulders to fire a left-foot long-ranger at the far post. ATK wouldn’t mind if he produces one this week.
First Published: Dec 11, 2016 19:23 IST