New Delhi: Phrangki Buam has been riding high on his goalscoring exploits for Shillong Lajong, where he ended up as the highest scorer in 2019 with 24 goals, but the 19-year-old now looking to enter the big league in order to improve his game and get in a position where the Indian national team coach can notice him.
Shillong Lajong are not playing in the I-League 2019-20 after getting relegated in the previous season. Lajong played with an extremely young squad last season as the uncertainty around the future of the league grew and ended up getting relegated. This season, they are not even playing the second division league and are now mostly limited to local competitions and age-group football.
Buam, who top scored for Lajong with six goals in last season's I-League, guided the team to Shillong Premier League title in November with 10 goals and won the Golden Boot. He also was the top scorer in Meghalaya State League with 14 goals, which was also won by Shillong Lajong on December 21.
The attacking midfielder is extremely happy to have helped Lajong win the titles and was all praise for his team and coach Jose Carlos Rodriguez. "I am really happy to be the top scorer of Shillong Premier League and Meghalaya State League and also, that it helped the team win the titles. We have a Spanish coach who's worked really well and has helped us all a lot.
"The coach has a good relationship with the players. He has helped me a lot to improve and I try and work really hard to help the team," Buam said in a conversation with News18.com.
Despite the good time at Lajong and the success the youngster has enjoyed, he feels it's difficult to stay motivated knowing the team is not playing any major national league. Buam top scored for Lajong but the achievement was soured by the team's relegation.
"I was extremely happy to have top scored for the team in the I-League but I was also very sad with the team getting relegated. I had very mixed emotions at that time. We had a very inexperienced squad in the I-League and it was very difficult. There was a lot of pressure and we tried our best but it was a difficult road for us.
"It is difficult to stay motivated with the team not playing the major national leagues and very few games. If given a chance I would want to join another team because I am very young and I need a lot more game time, so that I can improve myself," Buam shared.
Buam, who turned 19 on December 16, 2019, has played in Shillong all his life. He first joined Sports Authority of India in Shillong in 2012 after cracking the trials before moving to Royal Wahingdoh in 2015. Buam said that playing for Wahingdoh for two years helped him gain "a lot of excellent experience." It was in 2017 that he joined Lajong.
"The football in Shillong is getting better. All us players here need to keep working hard and improve ourselves to better the football in the state overall."
Like every footballer in the country, Buam also dreams of donning the blue jersey. Being an attacking midfielder, the 19-year-old is aware of the competition he faces to get in the national team but he is ready to grind it out for that.
"My aim is to play for the Indian national team and I want to work hard to be there. Me being an attacking midfielder, if I get an opportunity, I will try my best to do well."