After friendly matches at home, Jeje longs for competitive football | Goa News

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PANAJI: Jeje Lalpekhlua couldn’t decide what was difficult: a knee injury that has now kept him sidelined for over 15 months, or a split with Chennaiyin FC after six years.
The Indian striker took to social media on Tuesday morning to tell the world his eventful journey with Chennaiyin FC is over. He was moving on – didn’t say where – although he wished he could play another game for the former ISL champions. In his own words, “it doesn’t have to be.”
With Jeje’s departure, Chennaiyin lost their top scorer, someone who played an influential role in the team’s two ISL triumphs (2015 and 2017-18). He is the only player to score in ISL’s first five seasons and has scored 32 goals, including 25 in 69 appearances. Search anywhere and except the unbeatable Sunil Chhetri you won’t find a match.
“I think today is the most difficult day of my footballing career. It was a very, very difficult decision. That’s life, though. I will miss the club and the fans very much. I will miss me. now look forward to my next assignment, ”Jeje told TOI on Tuesday.
For an entire season, the 29-year-old has been absent, unable to enter the pitch since playing his last competitive game for Chennaiyin against Abahani Dhaka in the AFC Cup on April 30 of last year. A persistent knee injury forced him to undergo surgery, and by the time he was called up to the national team by coach Igor Stimac, Covid-19 was playing the spoiler.
“I was delighted to be back (with the national team) after a long gap, but the circumstances are such that neither of us can complain. I have to accept this, ”Jeje said.
He keeps himself in shape. There are sessions at the gym, he also rides a bike, and whenever the weather permits he gets involved in soccer matches in his village in Mizoram.
“I have already played two district friendlies,” he joked.
But when will Jeje return to competitive football? And especially with which club?
“There are discussions with some clubs, nothing is decided yet. Hope to announce soon, ”he said.
They are four to wait for his signature, if we believe his relatives. Jamshedpur FC, for example, will not deal with a striker with a nose for goals; Kerala Blasters and Hyderabad FC are also in the fray, while East Bengal will join the race once they complete formalities and join the Indian Super League (ISL).
“There is no rush at the moment,” Jeje said.
An injury like this that kept him away for over 15 months is never easy. The “Mizo Sniper” was largely injury-free, with the exception of a hiatus of just over a month while at Mohun Bagan in 2014-15.
“It’s really hard to get out. At the start of the season I was forced to watch ISL on TV and it was hard to watch Chennaiyin wrestle. I had to turn off the TV a few times, until Owen (Coyle) triggered a turnaround. I missed playing a lot.
“Now my goal is to get back on the pitch and start scoring again. I need to be in good shape and I’m sure I won’t disappoint anyone. I missed football and it motivated me to work harder than before, ”said Jeje.
Like any footballer, Jeje has experienced setbacks in the past. During the victorious 2017-2018 season for example, the Indian striker did not score six games in a row, the longest of his professional career. He then rebounded by scoring twice in the semi-finals against FC Goa.
No wonder, despite his absence for an entire season, he still remains in high demand.


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