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The experienced India defender hopes that the derby in Shillong becomes a ‘date to mark’ in the Indian football calendar every season…

After having plied his trade for clubs in Goa, Mumbai and Kolkata, Gouramangi Moirangthem is set to debut in the high profile Shillong derby as he shall don the colours of Rangdajied United this weekend.

This will be for the very first time in his career that the Manipuri would play for a north eastern club.

“I have heard a lot about football in the north east and played matches against Shillong Lajong in the previous three I-League editions. Now playing for a club in the north east will give me a firsthand experience of playing in front of big crowd week after week. The north east football following is probably the best in India and we can see that from the number of fans who turn up to the matches. I hope I can do my best for the club and its fans,” the 27-year-old told Goal.

Friday shall see the first Shillong derby in the I-League and Gouramangi has already heard ‘enough’ about the existing rivalry between Rangdajied United and Shillong Lajong.

“This is the first Shillong derby in the I-League so it will be a first time experience for everyone - the players, officials, fans everyone. However, I have been speaking to other players who have been around Shillong and I have heard that there has been a fierce rivalry already in the Shillong League and other local tournaments.

“Every derby around the world is exciting and most countries always have more than one big club in their main football city. I hope this derby becomes a date to mark on the Indian football calendar for many years to come.”

The Blues of Shillong haven’t had a great start to their I-League campaign having notched a mere three points from their eight matches. A win this weekend shall go a long way in bolstering the confidence of the promoted outfit.  

“For us every match from now on is crucial irrespective of whether it is a derby or not. The team has not had the best start but it can only get better from here on so let’s hope that we can get our first win in the I-League sooner than later.”

On been asked as to who would be the title contenders this term, Gouramangi in a lighter vein hoped his side are amongst the elite!

“It is still early days in the I-League. There is still two thirds of the I-League to go and no one team look like favourites as of now. I may be able to answer this in a couple of month’s time. I sincerely hope Rangdajied United are amongst those contending for the title at the end of the season!”

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