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Royal Wahingdoh FC: A success story so far

2622015-md-hr-11SHILLONG: Seven rounds into the I-League, they are at the top of the standings with as many as four wins and a draw. The side in focus is not defending champions Bengaluru FC, the mighty East Bengal or Dempo, nor even the first club from the North East to play in the I-League, Shillong Lajong FC.
Royal Wahingdoh FC, a known name in North East football circles, has achieved this feat in its maiden I-League appearance. After achieving an over decade-old dream, I-League debutants RWFC from Shillong have created more than a ripple in the top flight of Indian football.
What started with a victory over city rivals and the first team from the NE region to feature in the I-League, Shillong Lajong in the first derby of the season was followed up with impressive away wins over Salgaocar and Bharat FC and a home hurrah over Sporting Clube de Goa.
Even though the Royal juggernaut was halted for a while by defending champions Bengaluru who trounced them 4-0 at home in a Round 4 game and by a gritty Dempo who held RWFC to a 1-1 draw, the Santosh Kashyap-mentored team never seemed to be under undue pressure or seemed apprehensive of losing their table-toppers tag along the way.
Perhaps, the apparent carefree attitude of this I-League new entrant side traces its roots from the mantra given by its coach, Kashyap.
“I want the boys to enjoy the game” is something the former Bagan coach has mentioned more than once.
The fact that the Royals have proclaimed that they are yet to set a target for themselves has also acted as a stimulant for the boys, relieved of the pressure to finish at a certain position. Also, slowly but surely, winning seems to be becoming a habit for this outfit, only the third from the North East, to play in the I-League. The team’s better away record so far also hints towards its pressure-free approach in the big league.
While most sides rely on their foreign strikers to net more of the goals, domestic players like the tried and tested Seityasen Singh, who has been with the Royals since their first division days in Shillong, has emerged as a coach’s delight netting three so far. His friend and fellow player since long, Jackichand Singh despite scoring only once has been in the thick of action in the games he appeared so far.  Adding to that, the foreigners, Royal faithful Bekay Bawar, the energetic Kim Song Yong and skipper Densill Theobald have all played more than their part in the success story so far.
Even rival coaches like Dempo’s Arthur Papas, Sporting’s Mateus Costa and even Ashley Westwood of Bengaluru have showered praise on RWFC’s approach and style of play. While Westwood and Papas opined that RWFC’s rise to the top was no fluke, Costa felt that the Royals were doing it ‘all correct’ at the moment.
Currently, the Royals just hold on to the top-rank in the table with 13 points and are being closely followed by Pune FC (12 points), Mohun Bagan (11 points) and Bengaluru FC (10 points).
Under the circumstance, RWFC’s away outing against Pune on Saturday assumes greater significance if the newly promoted side from Shillong fancies extending its stay at the top of the table.

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