Defending Indian Super League (ISL) champion Chennaiyin FC has signed the Mizoram trio of Isaac Vanmalsawma, Zohmingliana Ralte and Laldinliana Renthlei on two-year deals.
21-year-old winger Isaac and 27-year-old defender Zohmingliana have signed for the two-time ISL champion after the expiry of their contracts at FC Pune City and Bengaluru FC respectively. 19-year-old right back Laldinliana has joined on a free transfer from Mizoram Premier League (MPL) outfit Chhinga Veng FC, having completed a loan stint at Aizawl FC in the 2017-18 I-League.
“I am very happy to welcome all three of them. Youngsters Isaac and Dinliana had very good campaigns last season and have immense potential. Zohmingliana is a top professional with plenty of experience. Each of them will add further quality and depth to our squad ahead of an exciting season,” said Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory.
“I am very excited to have joined the champions. I can’t wait to work under a successful coach like John Gregory and further develop as a player. I hope to help Chennaiyin retain the ISL title,” Isaac said after signing with the Chennai-based club.
Zohmingliana said, “I am looking forward to this new challenge in my career. Chennaiyin has been the most consistent team in ISL history and I aim to give my best to help them achieve their targets in all competitions.”
Laldinliana said, “This will be my first ever stint with an ISL franchise and that too with the champions so I am relishing the opportunity. 2017-18 was a memorable season and now I am very excited to have joined a massive club like Chennaiyin FC.”
A product of the AIFF Elite Academy, Isaac is equally adept at operating in both flanks and can also play as an attacking midfielder with the ability to score and create chances from set-pieces. After featuring for Shillong Lajong in two seasons of the I-League, Isaac was selected by Pune City in last year’s ISL draft.
Isaac made 12 appearances in the 2017-18 ISL and helped FC Pune City reach the playoffs for the very first time. He has represented India at various age group levels and has been part of the India senior team camps. He featured in India’s 3-0 win over Bhutan in an unofficial match in 2016.
Zohmingliana, who is better known as Zotea, had a stint with the Mohun Bagan academy but first featured in the I-League while playing for Shillong Lajong. He also had a stint at Pune FC in the I-League while his ISL debut came in the 2015 edition when he was picked by NorthEast United in the draft.
After a season with Pune’s DSK Shivajians in the I-League, Zotea joined Aizawl FC and inspired the Mizoram club to their first-ever I-League title. Although primarily a centre-back, Zotea can play across the backline and his versatility was useful for ISL runners-up Bengaluru FC in the 2018 AFC Cup as he made seven appearances and helped them reach the knockouts of the continental competition.
2017-18 proved to be the breakthrough campaign for Laldinliana, better known as Dinliana. After winning the MPL title with Chhinga Veng FC and being adjudged the best defender of the tournament, the teenage pacy fullback was loaned to Aizawl FC.
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