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Lajong sign India striker Sushil Singh

Shillong Lajong FC owner M Larsing Sawian (R) hands over the team jersey to new signing Sushil Singh (C) in presence of coach Pradyum Reddy in the city on Tuesday. (ST)

SHILLONG: Shillong Lajong FC are on a signing spree and the latest addition to the squad is Indian national team striker Sushil Kumar Singh who will feature for the Reds for the remaining I-League season.

Sushil is the third player signed by Lajong in span of a week and his inclusion is expected to boost the forward lines of the local favourites who have not had much success, as far as the number of goals are concerned, this season. Lajong had signed current Indian vice captain P Renedy Singh and Australian striker Mathew Osvaldo Mayora last week.

Coach Pradhyum Reddy said that the main reason for signing Sushil is to further strengthen the forward lines. While admitting that there has been a major question mark over the team’s conversion rate during the current season, Reddy said that the only way to better it is by having quality strikers who can capitalize on the scoring opportunities.

“We are hoping that with the coming of a quality player like Sushil there would be vast improvement in our performance,” Reddy said while talking to pressmen here on Tuesday.

When asked if he is satisfied with the present component of the team, the Lajong coach said that the defence is still an area of concern. “With injury issues concerning some of the players, I do not have much back up when it comes to the defence. In any case, I have to prepare the team with whatever players are there at my disposal,” he said.

With this latest signing, Lajong have only one spot left in the team and an Under-19 national team player who is currently undergoing training with the side might as well fill that vacancy.

“We have two other options which we would consider before taking a final call,” Reddy said.

Meanwhile, expressing happiness over his inclusion in the Lajong side, Team India striker Sushil Kumar Singh said, “I would give my level best to contribute to the team’s success.”The twenty-six-year old striker started his career with Mahindra United in the I-League and was one of its best players scoring eight goals in eleven games till the team was disbanded.

After Sushil joined East Bengal F.C. and the striker featured in five games during his first season with the team in 2010-11.

Sushil is also a regular with the India national football team. In 2009, he led the India U-23 team to the SAFF championship where he scored from a free kick against Bangladesh to help India go into the finals and face Maldives. Sushil scored his third goal for India’s seniors against Qatar in India’s historic 2-1 victory away from home.

He was then selected by India for the 2011 SAFF Championship in which he played in two matches, including the final where he scored one goal and India beat Afganistan 4-0.

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