Will Lyngdoh's Bengaluru homecoming get him his midas touch back?
Eugeneson Lyngdoh's return to Bengaluru FC have been one of the big stories of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 transfer window. A former fan-favourite among the Blues' fans, Bengaluru FC have been closely tied to the midfielder's rise to prominence in Indian football. Having dropped off the radar in the last few years due to repeated bouts with injuries, the dynamic midfielder will be hoping to rediscover himself at the same club which propelled him to stardom around five years back.
Eager to make his return count, Lyngdoh said, "Ever since I first signed for Bengaluru FC, I knew I was making the right decision. Now that I’m here again I want to relive those moments and create new ones. I’m looking forward to being back on the pitch and fighting for titles once again."
To recall, the Meghalaya-born midfielder rose up the ranks playing for Rangdajied United and Shillong Lajong FC, but caught the attention of the nation only after signing for Bengaluru back in 2014. In his very first season with the Blues, he helped them win the 2014–15 Federation Cup and was named the Hero I-League Midfielder of the Year. The diminutive playmaker won both Bengaluru's Fans' and Players' Player of the Year for the season and also bagged the Football Player Association of India (FPAI) Player of the Year and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year awards.
He also lifted the Hero I-League 2015-16 title with Bengaluru and followed it up with the 2016-17 Federation Cup trophy. Parallelly, he was also sensational in the Hero ISL 2015 when at loan at FC Pune City. In the time frame between 2015 to 2017, he was also one of the top stars in the India national team. He finally left Bengaluru in 2017 after two-time Hero ISL champions ATK signed him during the draft. The switch, however, didn't quite work out for the midfielder as a host of recurring injuries and lack in form restricted him to just eight matches in two seasons for the Kolkata-based club.
Reminiscing about the last few seasons, Lyngdoh said, "The last three years haven’t been kind to me, but I have already left them behind. What matters to me is this moment. I am really glad to be back in Bengaluru FC and I’m looking forward to working hard and playing my part on the pitch. We’re working hard to get back in shape and integrate the new players into the squad and system and I’m really looking forward to the season ahead."
One step at a time
Once one of the first names on the team sheet for the Indian national team, Lyngdoh has been out of the squad for the last few years, with his last international appearance coming way back in 2017. Asked if he would be eyeing to earn his place back in the national fold, Lyngdoh stated, "My initial ambition is to get back to my 100% and play for the club, because I haven’t been able to play consistently for a while now. We have three competitions this season and getting into the starting eleven here is my first intention. Of course, every player hopes to play for the national team and it is no different for me. But I know that I will have to work hard and that is what I intend to do."
"It means a lot to me that the coach has kept faith in me after a few seasons out due to injury, and my first target is to repay that by contributing to this year’s campaign in any way possible. I want to make sure that I am available when required and I hope to repay his faith by justifying his decision to bring me back to this club," he further added, expressing his gratitude to head coach Carles Cuadrat and the club.
Tough times have made me stronger: Lyngdoh
Both Lyngdoh and the Bengaluru fans will hope that the return to his old stomping ground and familiar surroundings, where he has been so successful in the past, will help the talented midfielder get his midas touch back.
As Lyngdoh sums it up himself, "The biggest motivation when you are a footballer is the belief in yourself. Tough times are a given when you are in this profession. You may be injured, you may be out of favour, but if you believe in yourself, then you know that the good times will return. I am lucky to have had a circle of family, friends, teammates and staff who have been very supportive and I’m just looking to enjoy my football once again!"