Redeem Tlang: Learning new things from Asamoah Gyan every day
NorthEast United FC’s journey was one of the most inspirational stories of the 2018-19 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) campaign. The club reached their first-ever Hero ISL semifinal and demonstrated tremendous courage and skills in all areas of the pitch. However, ahead of the upcoming season, the club saw a major overhaul in personnel, with former head coach Eelco Schattorie and talismanic striker Bartholomew Ogbeche, both joining Kerala Blasters.
Rowllin Borges, meanwhile, joined Mumbai City FC while goalkeeper TP Rehenesh also found a new home in the Blasters. To offset these losses though, two key members of last year’s team did renew their contracts and will hope to take their team to newer heights in the 2019-20 edition.
Redeem Tlang and Pawan Kumar were both instrumental in the Highlanders’ run last season. The former even went on to score his debut goal for the club in the first leg of the semifinals against Bengaluru FC.
Speaking in a recent interview, the young midfielder said, “Rowllin was a key player for NorthEast last season, but now he is in Mumbai. I’m sure someone from the team will step up for him. Whoever replaces him will have good potential.”
The influence of Asamoah Gyan has also started to show among the NorthEast players, with Redeem seemingly excited to work with him. “Asamoah has a lot of experience at the higher level. I have seen him play in the Premier league, and now I will get a chance to play with him. I’m learning new things from him every day. He is very helpful, and I think we will get along well.”
Pawan Kumar, similarly, feels the loss of key players like Ogbeche and Mislav Komorski to injury towards the end of last season cost the Highlanders dearly last term. The 29-year-old shot-stopper was key to NorthEast’s successful run last season, keeping six clean sheets, and performing especially well away from home. “The team has been training well and performing in the friendlies as well. We have 12 days before the new season, and we need to start positively by winning the first few matches,” he said.
The Highlanders play their Hero ISL 2019-20 opener away to current Hero ISL holders, Bengaluru FC on October 21, while their first home match of the season sees them welcome Odisha FC on October 26.