Neitho Living Out His Dream As Goalkeeper Of Shillong Lajong FC - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland

Neitho living out his dream as goalkeeper of Shillong Lajong FC

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By Livine Khrozhoh Updated: Oct 21, 2023 11:45 pm
Neitho Livine
Neithovilie Chalieu

DIMAPUR — Having passion for football since his childhood days, Neithovilie Chalieu (Neitho) is living out his dream as the goalkeeper of Shillong Lajong FC, an Indian professional football club competing in the I-League.

The 24-year-old footballer is from Tsiepama village under Chümoukedima district.

In a conversation with Eastern Mirror, Neitho shared that he was very serious and passionate about football right from childhood and would always roam around and play with his elder brothers.

He narrated that, initially, he did not play as goalkeeper but “it was all God’s plan”, as things changed in 2011 after he was selected as the goalkeeper for his high school team for an inter-school tournament organised by the Medziphema Town Students’ Union (MTSU).

And in that tournament, he was awarded the best goalkeeper.

“Thereon, I chose goalkeeping as my position,” he said.

Some of his achievements include winning Subroto Cup (under-14) during his school days when they represented Nagaland and where he was also adjudged the best goalkeeper of the tournament; Indian Youth League champions with Shillong Lajong FC; won Dr. T Ao Trophy (under-21) representing Nagaland, where he was awarded the best goalkeeper and player of the tournament; Nagaland Premier League runners-up; Shillong Premier League 3x champions with Shillong Lajong FC; won Meghalaya State League with Shillong Lajong FC; champions of Shillong Premier League with Mawlai SC; and Bordoloi Trophy runners-up with Nagaland Police team, where he received best goalkeeper award.

He also represented Nagaland senior team in Santosh Trophy three times.

Speaking about his journey to his present club Shillong Lajong FC, Neitho shared that in the year 2016, he along with a friend were scouted in India under-17 trial camp at Goa.

They stayed in Goa for one and half months but unluckily did make it to the final selection.

“It was during this time I was called by Coach Gumpe Rime to join Shillong Lajong FC and that is how I joined Lajong in the year 2016,” he recalled.

Through his experience, he learnt that it is important to control one’s temper, stay focused and show respect to fellow teammates as well as opponents.

His daily routine includes waking up early, doing yoga and meditation. And after practice session, he sleeps for around 45 minutes and have lunch and dinner at normal timings.

Sharing his opinion on why Nagas are lagging behind in football, Neitho said: “Nagas are lacking in almost every sphere because we do not get good training at the grassroots level. We do not learn the basic things of football and, most important thing is, we lack patience and discipline.”

He also shared that Northeast United is his favourite football club in India.

“If I get a chance to play, I will represent our region because we don’t have any players from our state to represent us in Northeast United FC,” he said.

“For now, I am only focusing on my career but as for my retirement I want to become a coach so that I can give back something to our future Naga players,” he added.

Expressing his gratitude to football fans from across Nagaland for always supporting and praying for him, he said, “Thank you for always believing in me.”

Meanwhile, Neitho wishes the government of Nagaland provides job opportunities for sports persons from the state.

“Naga sports persons, after retirement, become jobless and find it hard to live their life. So it is my earnest request to the state government to kindly provide opportunities to the sportspersons in the government sector too, based on merit. Take a look at our neighbouring states; many of the sportspersons are recognised and given opportunities even in government sector,” he said.

Also read: Nagaland bye-election: Nomination papers of NDPP, INC candidates found valid

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By Livine Khrozhoh Updated: Oct 21, 2023 11:45:44 pm
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