Shillong, Aug. 12: Shillong Lajong FC, the only I-League outfit from the region, has arranged a triangular series involving Australian A-League club Wellington Phoenix FC later this month as part of its preparation for the I-League campaign.
This is the first time in Indian football that a leading foreign premier league club will compete in a triangular series, christened the North East Lajong Super Series.
Bhaichung Bhutia’s United Sikkim SC, which has booked an I-League berth, is the third team in the series, to be held from August 24 to September 1 in Guwahati, Imphal and Shillong.
The series is organised jointly by Shillong Lajong FC and JPR Events in association with three northeastern state associations — All Manipur Football Association, Assam Football Association and Meghalaya Football Association.
Wellington Phoenix Football Club is a professional club from New Zealand, which plays in Australia’s premier professional football competition, the A-League.
In the 2011-12 season, they finished among the top four of the league table and will be accompanied by the Kiwi 2010 FIFA World Cup and club coach Ricki Herbert.
The team also boasts of four World Cup players, who represented New Zealand in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa — Tony Lochhead, Benjamin Sigmund, Leo Bertos and Jeremy Brockie — where they did not lose a single game.
The tournament will be played in a round Robin format wherein all the three teams will go head to head.
United Sikkim will open its campaign against Wellington Phoenix at Nehru Stadium here on August 24 while Shillong Lajong will clash with Wellington Phoenix at Khuman Lampak stadium in Imphal on August 26.
Shillong Lajong will meet United Sikkim at JN Stadium in Shillong on August 30.
The top two teams will play in the final to be held in Shillong on September 1.
Shillong Lajong were, however, relegated from the Premier League to the first division league after they went down by a solitary goal in the injury time against Rangdajied FC in today’s match at Polo ground.
The team registered only three wins and as many draws from 13 matches to tally only 12 points in the league.
Their last match against Meghalaya Police Football Team will now be inconsequential after today’s loss.