Lalengmawia Ralte popularly known as Apuia, is the youngest ever player to captain a side in the Indian Super League.
This is a series of identifying the emerging players of the seventh edition of the Indian Super League. The players chosen either aged under 23, or are playing their maiden or the second season in the Indian Super League.
From a prodigal son of Mizoram to donning the captain armband of the NorthEast United FC, certainly Apuia has come all way from the years of hardships to the feisty world of applause. The star midfielder has been a regular starter for NorthEast United FC in this 7th edition of ISL.
Apuia became the youngest-ever ISL player to lead a team when he was handed the captain’s armband by Gerard Nus at 20 years and 44 days. At the very young age, Apuia has been among the best in business. A play-maker in the middle of the park, who effectively puts a solid base to the side’s attack, providing accurate passes in the final thirds.
In 2017, he became the only player from his state to make it into India’s historic squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. A highly qualified prospect of the U-18 Elite Academy, made his international debut against Ghana in the Under 17 world cup. His beguiling performances in the U-17 world cup tempted many second tier Indian Clubs to secure his allegiance. He made 11 appearances for Indian Arrows in Hero I-League 2018-19 and also scored a solitary goal.
Following to a superb I-league stint with Indian Arrows, Apuia was signed by the Highlanders for the ISL the 2019-20 season, where the Northeast based club had a season to forget. Nevertheless of the club’s performance, Apuia stood as a stand out performer in the league, commanding a strong passing accuracy of 80.45% in just 10 matches.
” Apuia, by far is one of the best Indian Midfielder, He is physically not built, but has a good length. A very stable defensive midfielder, stable on the ball never gets under the pressure. A play maker who is very exceptional in his positional play. Takes up physical challenges to win the ball, its huge important to have a player like him.” opined the former NorthEast Coach Eelco Schattorie
The Hero ISL 2020-21 season has been a breakthrough to his career. He ideally fits into the NorthEast’s game style, acting as the architect of his team’s midfield. An ideal box to box midfielder, who takes up defensive challenges upfront. The youngster has an amazing passing accuracy of 74% which is far superior for a central midfielder at this very young phase. He has a total of 41 interceptions and 75 tackles to his name.
“Frankly speaking, he’s one of the best midfielders in India. I never tell him what to do. He always plays with a lot of energy and the same rhythm. Even in my playing career, I’ve never seen a player like him. I think he’s one of our best players.” the present head coach Khalid Jamil had all praises for this highly-rated prospect.
The air of certainty over the future of Apuia in the realm of Indian Football has grown dense, given his exceptional performances and his maturity we could expect this young prospect featuring in National Colours soon hopefully.