Mumbai: Defending ISL Champions Mumbai City FC have signed up NorthEast United player Lalengmawia on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee.
Lalengmawia, or Apuia Ralte, as he’s fondly known, rose through the ranks of the AIFF Elite Academy and made his name after being the only player from Mizoram to make it to India’s squad for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
After two hugely impressive seasons that followed in the I League with the Indian Arrows, where Apuia made 13 appearances and scored a goal, the central midfielder signed for NorthEast United in the ISL ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.
The 20-year-old turned out on 10 occasions in his debut campaign for the Highlanders and stepped it up in the following season, featuring in each of the 22 games and getting a memorable strike from distance in NorthEast United’s run to the semifinals in the 2020-21 season.
“Firstly, I want to thank NorthEast United for giving me the opportunity to play at the highest level in India but now, I feel I am ready to take the next step in my career,” he said in a release.
“To join a club of Mumbai City’s stature is a huge honour for me and for my family. The club has the ambition and the intent, not just to win titles in India but to make a mark in Asia as well and I want to be a part of it.
“The club had a hugely successful last season and I believe we’re on the right path to build something special here. I am still young, I have a lot to learn and I am looking forward to getting to work with the coach Sergio Lobera, his staff and my new teammates.”
Apuia marked a milestone season in his short career as he led out NorthEast United as the youngest captain in ISL history before being named ISL’s Emerging Player of the Season and the FPAI Young Player of the Season for 2020-21.
Head Coach, Sergio Lobera said: “A player of Apuia’s calibre brings a lot of quality to the team and reminds us that if you are good enough, you are old enough.
“He is an exciting talent, possibly the best of his generation…there is no doubt that there is great maturity and flair in the way he plays his football.