Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City FC on Friday announced that Lallianzuala Chhangte, one of their most decorated players ever, has extended his contract until the end of the 2026-27 season.

The left-footed winger, integral to the team since joining in January 2022, has consistently raised the bar with his performances for both club and country. In the 2023-24 ISL season, Chhangte matched his previous season's record with 16 goal contributions (10 goals and 6 assists), becoming the first Indian player in the ISL to achieve over 15 goal contributions in consecutive seasons.

Besides winning the ISL League Shield in 2022-23, Chhangte also played a pivotal role this season, scoring crucial goals in the 2023-24 ISL semi-final and helping Mumbai City FC win the ISL Cup. He won the Golden Ball in the ISL 2022-23 season and the Golden Boot in the Durand Cup 2022. His achievements include an eight-game goal-scoring streak in the ISL, the longest for an Indian player, and being only the second Indian after Sunil Chhetri to record a goal contribution against every ISL opponent.

Known as the "Mizo Flash," the 27-year-old was part of the historic 2022 AFC Champions League campaign, where the Islanders became the first Indian club to register wins and finish second in their group.

Chhangte will continue to light up the Mumbai Football Arena, and his experience will be crucial for Mumbai City FC in the upcoming seasons, as he is set to become an even more important senior player within the team. Chhangte serves as the ideal role model for the talented youngsters in the squad, who will have the opportunity to learn and develop under his guidance.

Lallianzuala Chhangte said:

"I had no doubts in my mind about extending my stay with Mumbai City FC for the upcoming seasons. The fans are immense, and so is the family at the club. I am grateful to God that we have been able to repay that love with good football and trophies. There are many more stories to tell over the next few years, and I hope to be the best version of myself every day for my Mumbai City FC family."

Petr Kratky said:

"What Chhangte is capable of on the field is well documented, and I am very glad he is staying. I hope that he not only continues to be the force that he is but also goes on to achieve greater glory for himself and the club. He is a brilliant footballer, and I wish him the very best for the future. I hope he continues to mesmerize the fans in every game."

Kandarp Chandra – CEO, Mumbai City FC, said:

"We are delighted that Lallianzuala Chhangte has decided to extend his commitment to Mumbai City FC. His exceptional talent and dynamism on the field, coupled with his remarkable character and kindness off the field, make him a valuable asset. He epitomizes the spirit and vision of the club. We are confident that his continued contributions will consistently exceed our expectations."

Nishu inks permanent deal, while Rakip pens extension with East Bengal FC

Indian Super League (ISL) club East Bengal FC have retained the services of full-backs Mohamad Rakip and Nishu Kumar. Rakip has signed a two-year extension that will run until the end of the 2025-26 season. Nishu, who joined East Bengal from Kerala Blasters FC on a one-year loan deal last year, has signed a one-year extension with the Red and Gold Brigade on a permanent transfer.

Commenting on the full-back duo’s extension, Mr Vibhash Vardhan Agarwal said, “Both Rakip and Nishu were important members of our Kalinga Super Cup-winning squad. They know how to handle the pressure of playing for a big club like East Bengal FC and have shown rapid progress under coach Cuadrat.”

East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat said, “Rakip and Nishu shone in important moments throughout the season, especially at the Kalinga Super Cup. Rakip was not getting enough playing time here before my arrival. However, he gradually made good use of the chances that I gave him and is a much-improved player now. He is still pretty young, and we need to give him more opportunities to grow as a player and develop his numbers in both defence and attack.”

Cuadrat added, “Nishu has gradually been returning to the form that he showed under me at Bengaluru FC, which helped him reach the national team. He was a key member of our Kalinga Super Cup-winning squad. Nishu not only did well in defence but also provided assists in crucial games throughout the season. It’s great to retain him for another season.”

Since joining East Bengal FC in 2022, Rakip has so far played 38 top-flight matches, besides helping the team in crucial Calcutta Football League games. The speedy right-back was a starter in each of East Bengal FC’s five Kalinga Super Cup fixtures and played a vast majority of the team’s ISL 2023-24 matches (19). The former ISL-winner logged 8 interceptions, 18 tackles, 39 successful duels, 9 successful aerial duels, 3 blocks, 49 recoveries, and 29 clearances in ISL 2023-24.

Rakip, now 24, expressed his joy at continuing with East Bengal FC, saying, “East Bengal FC have brought the best out of me. I would love to thank coach Carles (Cuadrat) and the East Bengal FC management for giving me enough playing time. I love this club and will continue giving my best for the fans.”

26-year-old Nishu, on the other hand, was East Bengal FC’s joint-top assist provider in the previous season, with three assists across 20 ISL matches. Playing in both left-back and right-back positions, the ambipedal defender made 20 ISL appearances last season, registering 16 interceptions, 67 successful duels, 21 successful aerial duels, 4 blocks, 66 recoveries, and 35 clearances. He also reached the milestone of making 100 ISL appearances last season.

Delighted to extend his stay at East Bengal FC, Nishu said, “I am very happy to continue my journey with the Red and Gold Brigade. I am grateful to coach Cuadrat and the East Bengal FC management for helping me regain my confidence. I’ll forever cherish our Super Cup victory and do everything possible to bring more joy to the fans.”

Mohun Bagan SG bid adieu to three foreign stars

Indian Super League (ISL) side Mohun Bagan Super Giant announced the departure of their foreign trio consisting of Joni Kauko, Brendan Hamill, and Hector Yuste.

The foreign trio played a pivotal role in the Mariners' first ISL League Shield triumph.

Hamill completed his move to Mohun Bagan SG in the 2022-23 season and has been a key figure in the Mariners’ ISL Cup-winning squad that year. The Australian defender featured in 14 ISL games this season, in which he won nine tackles and 33 duels, and completed 51 recoveries, averaging 84% passing accuracy. Hamill also notched a goal in Mohun Bagan SG’s 2-0 win against Hyderabad FC in December.

Hector Yuste joined the Mariners during the 2023 summer transfer window. The Spanish defender has 24 appearances for the club, in which he has succeeded in 101 duels, 18 tackles, and completed 120 recoveries, besides having two goal contributions for Mohun Bagan SG. Moreover, Yuste ranked fifth in the league with 34 interceptions to his name. The defender pair have also won the Durand Cup with the Mariners during their tenure.

Joni Kauko, who re-joined Mohun Bagan SG after Antonio Habas took charge in January, bids goodbye after completing his second stint with the Kolkata-based club. The Finnish midfielder had 14 ISL appearances last season, in which he provided four assists and scored a goal against NorthEast United FC on their home turf.