'We want to qualify for the I-League' - Royal Wahingdoh's Managing Director Dominic Sutnga Tariang

The three-time Shillong Premier League champions are playing in the current I-League division II first leg in Group B at Indore...
Royal Wahingdoh FC Managing Director Dominic Sutnga Tariang has revealed the club's dream of making it into the I-League for the coming season while stressing the need for better playing conditions in the second division.

"We have improved immensely over the last few seasons and now with German coach (Volker Hofferbert) and some new players in, we want to qualify for the I-League," he said.

"The second division is one of the toughest competitions in India," Tariang went on to express his displeasure over the playing conditions, "We are not happy with the ground conditions in Indore."

"The AIFF (All India Football Federation) have to provide good pitches. It's very disappointing as we play good football," he added.

The Royals, who are currently in the preliminary round, are placed in Group B alongside Aizawl FC, Bhawanipore FC, Green Valley Sports Club, Josco FC, Mohammedan Sporting Club, PIFA Sports, Simla Youngs FC and Techno Aryans.

"If we (RWFC) top the group in the first leg, then I think we have a better chance of qualification. We have to play every alternate day and hope for the least amount of injuries. Our second leg (final round) is going to be in Bangalore and we hope to have a good pitch to play," Tariang remarked.

It may be recalled that Royal Wahingdoh had beaten the likes of Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers before losing out to local rivals Shillong Lajong FC in the 34th edition of the Federation Cup back in 2011, and it was since then that the Shillong-based outfit has gained prominence.

Can the "Giant Killers" from the 2011 Federation Cup qualify for the I-League?

"We (RWFC) are the toughest team [in the ongoing second division]," claimed the clubs's General Manager Anoop DeMelo Abraham, "We play in the Shillong Premier League which is the most competitive league in the North East and the top league in Meghalaya. We've won it for the third time in three years, making us the best club in Shillong."

Anoop further gave his assessment of the other two teams from the North East who are currently plying their trade in the I-League season 2012-13.

"United Sikkim are in trouble with six matches, most of which are against top opponents, so I don't think they will be able to save themselves from avoiding the drop.

"Shillong Lajong, it depends (whether they will get relegated or not). The two opponents in their home games are Mumbai FC and ONGC and if they manage to pull out favourable results then they'll make it," he stated.

Anoop also pointed out that both teams have to face Mohun Bagan in the I-League before the end of the season. "Given the way they are playing lately and given their squad, I think Mohun Bagan are going to be the team to beat," he said.

Mohun Bagan are among the battling teams in the relagation zone, but the Royal Wahingdoh official admitted that he would prefer to see Lajong survive the league.

"We would like Lajong to stay in the I-League for the sake of the North East derby [in case Royal Wahingdoh qualifies]. The United Sikkim vs Lajong derby does not compare to the one we see in the Shillong Premier League.

"Everyone knows how passionate the clubs and fans are in Shillong. It could change the pattern of football marketing and TV coverage," he concluded.

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