I-League side Shillong Lajong Football Club has signed six foreign players ahead of the 2017-18 season.
The new foreign recruits who will feature for the Meghalaya-based club are centre forwards Saihou CH Jagne and Abdoulaye Koffi, attacking midfielder Aiman Salah Al-Hagri, defensive midfielder Daniel Odafin, centre backs Laurence Doe and Oh Juho.
For the new I-League season, the number of foreign players allowed to be fielded by each team in the starting eleven has been increased to five and teams can register up to 6 foreigners. By acquiring the signatures of these foreign players, Lajong has now completed the foreign signing formalities for the upcoming season.
Abdoulaye Koffi from Ivory Coast has made impressive stints at Grand Hotel FC in 2008-11 season (Egypt II Division), El Sharqia Dokhan in 2012-14 season (Egypt II Division), Saham SC in 2014-15 season (Oman Professional League), Al-Suwaiq in 2015-16 season (Oman Professional League) and Al-Khaleej in 2016-17 season (Saudi Professional League).
The 25-year-old was the top scorer of the Egyptian Second Division for Grand Hotel FC scoring 26 goals from 44 appearances during the 2010-11 season. Koffi was the second top goal scorer in the Oman Professional League for Al-Suwaiq in the 2015-16 season striking 23 goals from 32 game appearances.
Laurence Doe is a 30-year-old centre Back from Liberia and is a former Equatorial Guinea International having played 21 games in total and scored 2 goals. The right footed defender has won major titles in Mali, Equatorial Guinea & Oman.
The 28-year-old defensive midfielder from Nigeria, Daniel Odafin, has won the best midfielder award in the 2013-14 season for Shabab Al-Sahel (Lebanese Premier League). He helped his team to the finals of the FA Cup and Super Cup during the same season.
Saihou CH Jagne, who is a dual citizen of Sweden and Gambia, is a 30-year-old striker who last played for Fateh Hyderabad. He scored 4 goals in his last 5 games for Fateh in I-League second division. Between 2010 to 2015, he had been associated with various clubs in Sweden, Finland and Norway. His last club before moving to India was HamKam FC in Norway during the 2016-17 season. He has represented the Sweden U-17 team and Gambia Senior Team.
Attacking midfielder from Yemen, Aiman Salah Al-Hagri is a versatile and skillful player who can play up top or attack from the wings. The 24-year-old moved away from Yemen in 2011 to Bahrain, and then plied his trade in Oman and Saudi Arabia between 2013 to 2016. He is also a very important member of the Yemen National Football Team having made 19 appearances for his country so far.
Lastly, 25-year-old central Defender Oh Juho from the Republic of Korea has played in Korean leagues since 2008 and has also played for National Police Commissary FC, a top level of Cambodian League in 2016. At 6 feet 2 inches tall, Oh Juho has also represented the U-18 and U-23 National Teams.
Shillong Lajong FC Managing Director, Mr Larsing Ming Sawyan said, “We are happy to have completed the formalities of signing our 6 foreigners for the upcoming I-League. Unlike previous years, this year we have decided to exhaust our entire quota of foreign players that a club can register to complement a young and dynamic squad that is loaded with immense potential.”
“We look forward to an exciting brand of football this season and hope to put up a strong challenge for the I-League. Our Fans are going to witness the unveiling of the next generation of Lajong players which in my personal opinion will be the best that we have produced so far.”
The Reds seem to be determined to put their best foot forward for the forthcoming season by assembling a fine squad with what looks like a decent mix of foreigners and Academy graduates.