13th November, Shillong: Reunions and homecomings in football hit harder than most others and it isn’t any different in the case of Birendra Thapa. The Sreenidi Deccan Football Club Assistant Coach is back where it all began for him – but this time in opposition colours – as Sreenidi Deccan FC take on Shillong Lajong FC in a Matchday 4 I-League clash on Tuesday here at the SSA stadium.
“The football culture in Shillong is great. People here love football more than any sport and whichever corner of the city you visit, you will find children of all ages playing football. It is like a religion here,” said Thapa.
Having worn various hats for the club – player, coach, team manager – Thapa has fond memories of the place he still calls home and is looking forward to coming up against some familiar faces in the dugout on Tuesday. “Shillong is my hometown and it is always great to come home. It will be a great experience for me to face my former club as there are lot of guys in Shillong Lajong whom I coached and also the coaches with whom I worked,” he said. “I owe this club a lot because they gave me the platform to develop as a coach and become what I am today.”
Sreenidi Deccan FC have started the season with two wins and one loss and this will be their first away match. “It is the club’s third season in the I-League and the improvement can be seen in the results of the last two years – finishing third and second,” said Thapa. “What I like most about working at Sreenidi Deccan FC is the desire to always do better than before and move forward and this will help the club grow and achieve its dream.”
The I-League match between Shillong Lajong FC and Sreenidi Deccan FC will kick off at 2 PM IST at the SSA stadium in Shillong.