The start was not good for the 2018-19’s I-League runner ups, there were internal politics going on between the investors Quess Corp. Limited and East Bengal officials. Quess East Bengal FC canceled their pre-season tour to Madrid and Quess unofficially gave the indications that they won’t be there with East Bengal after the 2019-20 season. They got more shakier when main three players (Jobby Justin, Enrique Esqueda, Laldanmawia Ralte) in the upfront left the club. But they managed to keep the likes of Jaime Santos Colado, Borja Gomez Perez, Kassim Aidara and Brandon Vanlalremdika. There were some brilliant performances from Indians especially from Vidyasagar Singh who started the season so well that the critics started to mention him the next “Jobby Justin”, but he could not utilize his chances on the latter part of the season. Brandon Vanlalremdika, the twenty-six-year-old boy from Mizoram has impressed whenever he got the chance to play whether it is in the right-wing or his favorite left-wing position. He also got few chances to captain the prestigious club after serving the club for more than two years now.
The Journey of Brandon Vanlalremdika
He started his football career at Aizawl FC when the team was playing the Second Division I-League. He was one of the goalscorers in the match against Chanmari FC where his team got promoted in the first division for the first time. He made his professional debut against the then reigning champions Mohun Bagan AC. Where they lost 3-1.
Next seasson under Khalid Jamil, Aizawl FC were crowned as I-League champions. Ther are the first team from North East to do so. Brandon scored three goals that season and impressed everyone with his skills and abilities to whirl the balls into the box. He came under the radar of East Bengal officials, soon after that East Bengal signed Khalid Jamil, Laldanmmawia Ralte, Lalram Chullova and Brandon Vanlalremdika from Aizawl FC making a huge crack in the I-League winning team.
The days in Red and Gold Jersey
The stint in one of the prestigious clubs started in a good note under Khalid Jamil, making seventeen appearances, netting three goals and bagging a runners-up medal in Super Cup. East Bengal also won CFL title for the record eighth time consecutively. Next season, he got chances in all the matches under Alejandro Menendez and impressed the Spanish veteran coach. Again, the team ended up as runner ups in I-League. He carried his form into the start of this season, played some good matches in the Durand Cup as well as in the Calcutta Football League, but Juan Mera Gonzalez slowly overshadowed him as his performance was notable in his most of the outings.
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After a brilliant 2018-19 season under Alejandro Menendez, every supporter thought that this year would be an end to I-League draught. One of the die-hard supporters of East Bengal even said before the season, “ We’re celebrating 100th year of our mother club, we would like to see I-League trophy in our tent at the end of the season which would be a fitting gift for us and we believe in Alejandro Menendez who has already done wonders last season with this mediocre team.” Quess East Bengal FC had also signed an extension with Brandon Vanlalremdika, two of his best friends in the team left Quess East Bengal for better opportunities. Alejandro did sign a quite number of Indian players like Boithang Haokip, Pintu Mahata, Abhishek Ambekar, Lalthummawia Ralte. Brandon Vanlalremdika made eight starts this I-League season and also scored one goal against TRAU FC. at Aiza captained twice under Mario Riviera who chipped in as a replacement of Alejandro Menendez in the middle of the season.
It was a season to forget for all East Bengal supporters. Will they follow the footsteps of their arch-rivals Mohun Bagan or will they continue chasing their maiden I League title?