Lalchhungnunga, a defender for East Bengal FC, has been hired on a permanent basis after agreeing to a deal that will keep him with the team through 2026, the club stated.
Lalchhungnunga, who is on loan from Sreenidi Deccan and playing for East Bengal FC, has been a rock at the back for Stephen Constantine's team this year and is regarded as one of the greatest defenders in the league.
"In order to sign Lalchungnunga to a long-term contract with the Kolkata-based club that will keep him there through the conclusion of the 2025–26 season, East Bengal FC has exercised the loan to permanent option. Beginning with the 2023–24 season, the young defender will have made a permanent transfer from Sreenidi Deccan FC to East Bengal FC "The team released a statement.
In the competition for the October 2022 Emerging Player of the Month honour, the 22-year-old came in second place to Mehtab Singh of Mumbai City FC. However, the young defender has continued to produce at a high level.
"I am happy and honoured to commit my future to one of the historic clubs of India, East Bengal FC. I want to thank the board for trusting my abilities. East Bengal FC is an emotion that binds us all together. I feel this is my family away from home and I aim to give m,y best for the club and the fans," Lalchhungunga said after signing the contract with the club.
Lalchungnunga, who can play both full-back and center-back, has so far been utilised in the latter position by East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine. The soft-spoken defender has regained his teammates' trust by serving as the defensive anchor for East Bengal this season.
On October 7 in Kochi, Lalchungnunga played in his first Hero Indian Super League (ISL) game against Kerala Blasters FC. Since then, in India's premier division, he has recorded 47 clearances, 18 blocks, 11 interceptions, and 34 tackles.
In fact, he contributed to 7 of the 47 clearances during the Red & Golds' 3-1 victory over Jamshedpur FC, their most recent triumph in the current Hero ISL season.
"The decision to keep Lalchungnunga is appreciated. He has potential to go a long way and has showed a lot of promise for us at the back this season. He is the only outfield player—across all teams in the Hero ISL—to have played every minute of our season to date. This is an intriguing fact. We hope the best for him!" said Emami East Bengal FC Pvt Ltd. CEO Namrata Parekh.
His teammates have also given him accolades.
"I truly value the fact that my colleague center-back Lalchungnunga, Nunga, pays attention to my criticism. This character trait will greatly benefit him, "Ivan Gonzalez commented on the player's progress.
In order for East Bengal FC to squeak into the playoff slots for the remainder of the season, Lalchhungnunga will need to maintain his current form. In what is expected to be a pivotal phase of the campaign, the youthful defender will play a crucial role for the Red and Golds.