Samuel Lalmuanpuia leaves Kerala Blasters FC for Odisha FC
Odisha FC have bolstered their attack with the signing of youngster Samuel Lalmuanpuia from Kerala Blasters FC. The 21-year-old made the switch after featuring just five times for the Kochi-based outfit following his debut in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20.
“I am quite excited to play for Odisha FC. They have a very good fan base & it will be great to play in front of a vocal crowd in Bhubaneswar. I would want to perform well & contribute to the team’s success in the upcoming season,” he said after joining the Bhubaneswar-based club.
A native of Mizoram, Samuel was a youth product of the Chandigarh Football Academy, which has produced exciting prospects like Anirudh Thapa, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, and Jeakson Singh. In 2015, he made the move to Shillong Lajong FC's youth team, making his senior debut for the team during the 2015-16 Hero I-League season at the young age of 17.
He went on to make 64 appearance for the club over the next three seasons, scoring 13 goals and assisting another five and also went on to captain them. His best performance came in the 2017-18 season, when he was named the Hero I-League Emerging Player of the Season. He joined former Hero I-League champions Minerva Punjab on loan during the 2018-19 season, featuring in all their six AFC Cup matches and even scored against two-time Hero ISL champions Chennaiyin FC.
“Samuel is a player I have had my eyes on for quite some time. He fits what we are trying to build here and can hopefully make an impact. We hope we can maximize his skillset so he can reach the dizzying highs he had at Shillong Lajong," Odisha FC President Rohan Sharma said after securing his services on a two-year contract.
In his debut Hero ISL season, Samuel featured just five times and clocked just 59 minutes under Kerala Blasters’ former head coach Eelco Schattorie. The Dutchman however, heaped praise on the Mizoram-born youngster during his conversation with Anant Tyagi on Let’s Football Live, calling him one of the best players in Indian football.
Samuel is the second player to leave the two-time Hero ISL finalists this week. Sandesh Jhingan and Kerala Blasters mutually parted ways on Thursday. At his new club, the 21-year-old will be teaming up with a bunch of young and talented footballers like Vinit Rai, Shubham Sarangi to name a few and will also be reunited with his former mentor from Shillong Lajong, Thangboi Singto, currently assistant manager at Odisha FC.