Northeast United FC have officially announced that they have retained five Indian talents for the upcoming ISL 2020-21 season. The highlanders have retained 2 defenders, 2 midfielders and a goal keeper namely Rakesh Pradhan, Wayne Vaz, Lalengmawia, Ninthoinganba Meetei and Subhasish Roy Chowdhury. This certainly means that NEUFC have extended the contracts of these players.
Rakesh Pradhan is a product of Shillong Lajong academy where he broke out to their first team to play for them in the I-League and Super cup. After Shillong Lajong FC were relegated in the 2018-19 I-League season, the Assam born defender caught the eye of Northeast United FC and eventually moved on to play in the ISL 2019-20 season where he made 9 appearences.
Wayne Vaz signed for the highlanders in the previous season where he made his breakthrough in the ISL. After a good stint with Chennai City FC in 2016-17, the 26 year old signed for FC Pune City in 2017-18 season hoping to make an impact in the ISL. However, the centre back did not get enough game time and eventually was loaned to Churchill Brothers FC for two consecutive I-League seasons before being snatched by the highlanders in 2019.
Central Midfielders Lalengmawia and Ninthoinganba Meetei burst onto the scene when they made it into the FIFA U17 World Cup squad in 2017 with the former becoming the only player from Mizoram to make it into that historic squad. Then they both went on to play for Indian Arrows in the I-League 2018-19 season before making their way into Northeast United FC in the last summer.
Experienced goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury has had various stints with the likes of East Bengal FC, Dempo SC, ATK, FC Goa and Kerala Blasters. The 33 year old keeper is a product of Tata Football Academy. Roy last played for Jamshedpur FC in 2018-19 ISL season before being signed by the highlanders in the last season where he went on to make 12 appearances for the club.
Having finished 9th in the recently concluded ISL season, the highlanders have started to rebuild their side to aim for a higher place finish in the upcoming ISL season 2020-21. A source close to NEUFC said that this is the first batch of retained players that the highlanders have announced and there are negotiations happening with other players behind the scenes.
The next announcement from NEUFC about the players they have retained should be out very soon.
Written by, Pragathis Kumar.