WHILE SHILLONG LAJONG are not quite in the I-League title race (although they are not very far from it) they have enjoyed a good run of form this season and may just get the best finish to their league campaign ever in their top division playing history.
At the centre of their on-field success this season is Aser Pierrick Dipanda, the former Valencia B player who played for DSK Shivajians last season. The 28 year old Cameroonian forward has scored 10 goals this season so far and is the leading contender for the golden boot.
TFG caught up with him after he converted a penalty against Mohun Bagan and held the Mariners to a 1-1 draw at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong last night. Although happy to get a favourable result, Dipanda said his focus was on the next game,
"We have another big game coming up against Bengaluru FC. We are only going to concentrate on preparing for Saturday... I just want my club to win the next 3 matches and get the best finish in the I-League we can get from this season."
Dipanda has made an appearance in all 15 league games for Shillong Lajong and of his 10 crucial goals, he has a favourite. He clarified,
"The goal I scored in Chennai is my favourite."
The striker, who has scored thrice against Chennai City this season (including twice at home) scored a brilliant goal against them away from home that sealed the Reds' brilliant 4-1 victory, one of the best results on the road in the club's history.
So, after playing against all the big clubs in the country, who did he find to be the toughest opponents? Dipanda thought for a moment then replied,
"Mohun Bagan have very good stoppers. But my favourite opponent stopper is Arnab."
As far as the coming matches are concerned, Dipanda said he was relishing the challenge,
"I am used to playing against big teams by now. The match against Aizawl will be crucial but for now I just want to focus on Bengaluru."
Being contracted with Shillong Lajong till May, Dipanda said his mind was not yet made up on what direction his career would take in the future,
"I do want to play in ISL next season. But for now I want to only concentrate on I-League."