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JNSC not yet ready, fans to miss live I-League action

By Our Reporter

The unplayable condition of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. (File photo)

 SHILLONG: Shillongites are all set to miss the initial action of the upcoming I-League as the local giants Shillong Lajong Football Club (SLFC) are now compelled to miss their home matches.

As expected, the renovation of the JN Stadium at Polo is not yet complete and the I-League is all set to kick off later this month with Lajong playing its first match against Pune FC on October 22.

The work for laying the artificial turf in JN Stadium started quite late this year, raising doubts that the work would never be completed before the commencement of the prestigious I-League.

Speaking to The Shillong Times here on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Minister In-charge Sports and Youth Affairs, Bindo M Lanong, said the work in the stadium is likely to be completed only by November.

“The work is going on in full swing and right now the base is being laid,” Lanong asserted.

A four-member Asian Football Confederation (AFC) team led by AFC Director of Competition, Tokuaki Suzuki, who inspected the JN Sports complex earlier, had given two-months’ time to the authorities to take necessary steps to improve the facilities and the ground condition in the JNSC.

However the renovation work is not yet over and football fans in Shillong are all set to miss the live football action of the home team.

The SLFC is, however, confident that not playing on the home turf will not hamper their performance in the upcoming I-League.

SLFC coach Pradyum Reddy on Wednesday said, “We knew that the turf would not be ready on time so it’s not a surprise for us.”

He, however, was quick to add that the team would miss the support of Shillong fans who thronged the stadium in large numbers last time to support the team in all their matches.

Denying that the performance of the team would be hampered as  they are not able to play on their home turf, the coach said, “We are getting an opportunity to play in new conditions and our boys have to quickly adapt to the conditions.”

Commenting on the preparations of the team, he also stated that the team now needs to work on its defense. He was also confident that SLFC has the potential to compete with any team in the I-League.

Trouble for Lajong

With the I-League scheduled to start within a span of few days, Shillong Lajong FC has landed into a major trouble with Vasco SC, Goa filing a case against the club for fielding Seikhohao Tuboi, who was simultaneously registered with three different State Associations during the Second Division I-League final round held in the city earlier this year.

It may be mentioned that Tuboi has registered himself with the State Associations in Meghalaya, West Bengal and Manipur.

The cause of disagreement of the Goa club was that Tuboi was ineligible to play for the Second Division I-League since he was not supposed to register himself with more than one State Association.

Besides Shillong Lajong, Vasco has also filed a case against the AIFF for allowing Tuboi to play in the Second Division I-League.

Sources on Wednesday informed that the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) in Vasco has summoned Shillong Lajong, the AIFF and the Goa Football Association (GFA) to appear before the Court on October 20 in connection with the litigation filed by Vasco FC.

Sources also informed that the court has also directed them to file their written statements within a period of 30 days.

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