Success isn’t new or unknown for the men from the “land of the hill”, culminating in Sunday’s I-league glory. Aizawl FC became the first team from the Northeast to win the national league, the third champion in the last three years.Aizawl FC made their debut in the I-League only in 2016, after winning the second division with a stellar record. They had collected maximum points in every game , barring three – losing two and drawing one, which is a record.In the record breaking season, they couldn’t boast of a strong defence, conceding 20 goals in just 14 matches, but their prowess in front of goal as they helped them have a positive goal difference of 25 at the end of season.But, as history would have it, their maiden season in the I-league, didn’t go according to plan as they ended up being relegated. They had replaced title-winning coach Hmingthana Zadeng with Spanish coach Manuel Retamero Fraile, who also left mid season and K. Malsawmkima took over the reins of the team, A move in hind-sight which did not yield the warranted results.They finished eight in the nine-team tournament and won just four of their 16 games, Aizawl FC were relegation bound, but as fate would have it Sporting Club de Goa and Salgaocar withdrew from the I-League, opening the door for them. A disappointing run in the league was soon forgotten by the Aizawl faithful’s, as they managed to find form and grit, reaching the final of the Federation Cup. They lost 5-0.advertisementAizawl FC roped in Khalid Jamil, who is turn, brought Ashutosh Mehta and Jayesh Rane with him. Jamil had accused of being a defensive minded manger and had been removed as Mumbai FC’s manager at the start of the season. Khalid Jamil was born in Kuwait but moved to India to pursue a career in football in his parent’s country. He hopped between Mahindra United and Air India and went into early retirement after suffering multiple injuries throughout his playing career. He joined Mumbai FC in 2007 but didn’t make a single appearance for them in two years, finally going into management with the team from Cooperage ground in 2009.The stars finally aligned for Aizawl FC, this season. A marriage between the endless reserves of energy from the Mizoram and Jamil’s tactical flair, made sure Indian football got their first winner from the Northeast. Aizawl won nine of their 14 games, losing just two and drawing three. The result, the lowest number of goals conceded by the team in red and white in their last three season and most of their 19 goals scored coming in the second half, proving the teams ability to tire out teams. Aizawl’s victory may be a fairy tale, but the real struggle begins now.They have the huge task of representing India in the 2017 Asian Champions League qualifier, but more importantly holding onto the players that made history.Only time will tell, what future holds for Aizawl FC.
zoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: PxHere under CC0 Creative Commons license Chinese shipping giant Cosco Shipping Corporation is reportedly in talks with compatriot shipyards to order up to 25 ships to transport bauxite from Guinea to China, the Wall Street Journal writes.The ships are said to be intended for a long-term charter with Aluminum Corp. of China (Chalco) which is investing around USD 700 million in the construction of Boffa bauxite project in Guinea.The construction of the first stage of the project was kick started at the end of October, as reported by Reuters, with the initial production from the mine set to start in 2019. During this stage, the ships are expected to move around six million metric tons of bauxite.Overall, it is estimated that the project will unleash around 730 million metric tons of bauxite reserves.Under the project, Chalco is also expected to invest heavily in Boffa’s port and transportation infrastructure.According to WSJ, Cosco plans to order seven ships in the early stage, pushing the ordering tally to up to 25 vessels as the mine’s production ramps up.World Maritime News Staff