Idolising Michael Olise and watching Attack on Titan: Meet Indian football's first hipster teenager - Lalbiakliana

14th December, Hyderabad: Sreenidi Deccan Football Club’s transfer announcement of Lalbiakliana in the first week of August has garnered over 150,000 views across social media – a staggering amount considering the fact that this is an I-League club confirming the signing of a teenager. But therein lies the kicker – neither Sreenidi Deccan FC nor Lalbiakliana – can be considered your usual Indian football components.

Watch: Lalbiakliana transfer announcement video

Lalbiakliana or Biaktea as he puts on the back of his shirt, started his professional career with Sudeva Delhi FC, initially appearing for them in the Reliance Foundation Development League before being promoted to the first team squad for the second half of the I-League 2022-23 season. In 13 appearances, Biaktea scored thrice – one of those against Sreenidi Deccan FC (goal in video) and provided two assists, earning a summer move to the Deccan Warriors where he has hit the ground running, scoring in his first two appearances.

“It has been great first four months here at Sreenidi Deccan FC. The people here are amazing and the training facilities being close to nature also helps,” he said. “It was a really good feeling to be able to score on my debut for my new club.”

The transfer video earned Biaktea the nickname “Messi” among his new team-mates at Sreenidi Deccan FC and you wouldn’t have bet against the Mizo teenager modelling his game on the Argentine superstar as many of his age have. But Biaktea had a surprise in store there as well. “A lot of young football players are fans of Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar but I look up to (Crystal Palace midfielder) Michael Olise,” he grinned. “He caught my eye with his first touch and his elegance on the ball. I also like his 1v1 ability as well as his passing and crossing.”

In his spare time, Biaktea likes to hang out with his fellow Mizo team-mates Lalromawia, Lalnuntluanga and Lawmna but his main hobby seems to be watching anime. “It’s always great to have fellow Mizo team-mates as they helped me fit in right away and gave me great advice, not just on the pitch but off it as well,” he said. “It’s hard to pick my favourite anime but I’ll say Bleach, Attack on Titan and Naruto – not in any specific order.”

Lalbiakliana has made 8 appearances for Sreenidi Deccan FC this season, albeit 7 of those have come from the bench as he competes with Rilwan Hassan, Rosenberg Gabriel, Kean Lewis and Songpu Singsit for a place on the wings. “My targets for the season are to help the team win and also get as much game time as I can while constantly improving to score goals and provide assists my team-mates,” he concluded.