This article is a part of IFTWC’s Indian Player of The Season (IPS) series, where we talk about the best Indian player from each club both from Indian Super League and I-League.
As you go through this article, let me take you to the North part of the country, to Kashmir.
Real kashmir FC is based in the mountainous City of Srinagar, the club has been in existence for four years but has played in I-League for two consecutive season. The club’s remarkable journey began shortly after the 2014 Flood, which devastated the kashmir valley, killing hundreds and leaving thousands homeless, when two local friends Sandeep Chattoo and Shamim Meraj saw football as a means to help the state recover from the devastating flood. The game soon spread among youngsters and Chattoo and Meraj, quite unbelievably, found themselves owning a club.
Real Kashmir were crowned champions of I-League Second division 2017-18 and gain automatic promotion to I-League in 2018-19 season.
On the other hand in the Northeast Region of the country a young Sikkimese boy was making name for himself in football. The boy has grown up to be a man and was recently seen donning the “Snow Leopard” Jersey in the recently concluded Hero I-League.
Yes! The boy we are talking about is Phurba Lachenpa. The 22 years old Custodian who came up from the esteemed ranks of Shillong Lajong academy.
Football is a team game. And, of course, there have been individuals who have stood out a little more than their teammates.
Here IFTWC’s pick Phurba Lachenpa as Real kashmir ( IPS).
The Sikkimese’s formidable presence and key impact between the stick cannot be overstated. His stellar display in a number of tight encounters during the campaign, where Real Kashmir secured several nerve-jangling but priceless narrow victories, were appreciated by many fans and football Pundits across the country.
Lachenpa was call into action on multiple occasions with 44 saves in a season where as the team managed to only score 16 goal, the second least after Indian Arrow.
He played all the 15 league matches and kept a total of 5 clean sheets, only behind Sankar Roy of Mohun Bagan. His delicate performances didn’t go unnoticed as City Football Group owned side, Mumbai City FC are all set to rope in the custodian.
A deeper look into his stats reveals that he has strong numbers to back himself up. He faced an average of 3.6 shots every game, and saved 2.7 of them, which come down to approximately 75%. He has an average of 0.67 supersaves per match, which isn’t too bad for a young player like him.
In a turbulent season, Lachenpa was the shining light for Real Kashmir. His stellar performance ensured that Real Kashmir didn’t concede too much, while their attack struggled to score. With a potential move to ISL outfit Mumbai City FC, Lachenpa has a lot to look forward to in his career.
Credit must be given to Mumbai City FC management for acting swiftly in the transfer market after the club’s disappointing outing in this season’s ISL.