As the I-League is about to start, we take a closer look at every team. Today we have 2018-19 I-League second division champion TRAU FC.
They are one of the two teams from Manipur in this season’s I-League with Neroca FC.
The full name of the club is Tiddim Road Athletic Union Football Club and it is based in Imphal, Manipur. They are known by the nickname “The Red Pythons”.
The club was founded in 1954 and has been a frontrunner in the field of sports in Manipur. They won the state league of Manipur six times and finished runners up nine times. However, they registered to play in the national league in the 2017-18 season by participating in the I-League second division.
They advanced to the final round despite being debutants. But they couldn’t win the tournament that year. The next year, they won the I-League second division and qualified for I-League. In 2019, they played in the I-League for the first time under Nandakumar Singh. The Manipuri is still at the helm of the club from his home state.
Past Performance in the I-League
In the 2019-20 season, TRAU FC finished at the sixth position in the I-League. K. Krishananda Singh scored 3 goals in the campaign and was the top Indian scorer for them. Oguchi Uche led their assist chart with 3 assists. The Red Pythons conceded 27 goals in the 17 games they played, still, they managed to keep three clean sheets as well. Mithun Samanta had two of them and Sayan Roy the other.
Their two matches with Neroca FC ended in a victory and a defeat for them. Since both the teams are from the same state, it is a local derby and a prestigious match for both clubs. TRAU won the first game 2-1 but lost the reverse fixture 5-0. Ningthoujam Pritam Singh scored a hat-trick in that game.
About The Coach: L. Nandakumar Singh
L. Nandakumar Singh is a football manager from North-Eastern Indian state Manipur. He started his professional coaching career at Royal Wahingdoh as an assistant coach. Then in 2014, they achieved promotion from I-League second division to the top tier.
Afterward, he was appointed as the head coach of TRAU FC in 2017. They achieved promotion to I-League under him. But he was named the technical director after the appointment of Dimitris Dimitriou as the Red Python’s head coach. However, he was renamed as the head coach after the sacking of the coach from Cyprus.
The other members of TRAU’s coaching staff include assistant coach KH Surmani, goalkeeping coach L. Joy.
“Playing for a club from my home state is always special for me and my family, and I hope we can make progress together. My hope for the coming season is to contribute as much as I can for the team through goals and assists. Hopefully, we will be in the top places and fighting for the championship.”
“It wouldn’t be an easy fight as there are many skilled and experienced players in every team. We’ll have to work hard and fight throughout.”Seiminmang Manchong
TRAU FC Notable Transfers:
The Manipur side have brought in a few talented young players in their squad. Teenager Chanso Horam from Mumbai City FC is one of them. Also, they brought in Seiminmang Manchong and defender Amit Tudu from Odisha FC.
The former is a very exciting forward who scored 4 goals in 10 games for Delhi Dynamos FC reserves in I-League second division 2018. Moreover, they signed experienced left-back Shouvik Ghosh from Mohammedan SC. He will certainly make the Red Pythons better.
They also brought in two overseas players this season. Brazilian defender Helder from Kuwait side Al-Shabab. The other player is 23-year-old forward Joseph Olaleye from FC Green Valley.
TRAU FC Full Squad:
Goalkeepers: Soram Anganba, Prasanjit Singh, Amrit Gope.
Defenders: Shouvik Ghosh, Helder Lobato, Soraisham Singh, Abhishek Das, MD Abdul Salam, Naresh Singh, James, Amit Tudu, Shahbaaz Khan, Herojit.
Midfielders: Phalguni Konsam, Shougrakpam Singh, Chongtam Kishan, Sapam Bishorjit, Chanso Horam, Vicky Meitei, Yuno Thaikho, Laishram Singh, Cleaven Hmar, Prikanta Sorokhaibam, Meitalkeishangbam Roger.
Forwards: Mayosing Khongreiwa, Khundongbam Krishnanda, Ningthoujam Olen, Tjuddin, Fayajuddin, Joseph Olaleye, Robinson, Seiminmang Manchong, Bidyashagar Singh, Bedashwor Singh.
“We always tell the youngsters to be sincere and do what the coaches tell them. As seniors we try to explain that they need to be professional and that the hunger to win is important.”Soram Anganba
Key Players of TRAU FC:
Although TRAU FC have many talented players, they do not have any superstar name in their team. Team-work and youth are going to be their main strengths in the upcoming I-League.
However, young Seiminmang Manchong, midfielder Phalguni Konsam, and forwards Tursunov and Olaleye are the players to watch out for in this side. Abhishek Das and Shouvik Ghosh will be looking forward to showcasing their talent as well.
“Our target is to go into every match with the aim to win the three points. The boys have all arrived, and they are feeling well. If we finish in the top six positions in the first phase, then we can challenge for the title,”L. Nandakumar Singh
Predicted Final Position: Sixth
TRAU FC will play only their second I-League campaign this season. They surely have many talented players and the young players are very excited to get to the field as soon as possible.
Their coach Nandakumar and young midfielder Manchong both hope to challenge for the title. However, they may not have enough strength to battle with Real Kashmir, Mohammedan SC, Punjab FC, Chennai City as their squad has more depth and experience.
Still, it is possible that they finish at par with Churchill Brothers and Gokulam FC in mid-table, although they are tough competitors. We can expect them to finish above Indian Arrows, Sudeva FC, Neroca FC if the youngsters play their best football throughout the season.
TRAU FC has a pretty decent squad in their hands. Now they can only train hard, stay together and play for each other to do well in the league. If they find the right combination, they can surely trouble the big teams.
TRAU FC will kick-off their I-League campaign against Real Kashmir FC on 10th January at the Kishore Bharati Stadium, Kolkata. Then they have the Imphal Derby against Neroca FC on 15th January.