Apuia makes history in the course of Indian Football

Apuia is a Mariner.

It was the 19th of June when the news broke out in public. The 23-year-old Mizoram Midfielder, Lalengmawia Ralte triggered his release clause with Mumbai City FC. It was none other than Mohun Bagan who was trying to get his services. After signing Diamantakos, East Bengal were also interested in Apuia. Marcus Merghulao, ‘The Indian Fabrizio Romano’ mentioned this in his article.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant announcing Apuia

“East Bengal, were also interested in the star midfielder, knowing he would add real quality to the team. Coach Carles Cudrat gave his nod for the move, but with arch-rival Bagan in the fray, East Bengal knew their chances were limited.” Read more ISL: Mohun Bagan to register Apuia outside salary cap | Goa News – Times of India (indiatimes.com)

Apuia’s father works as a butcher in Mizoram. His parents supported him through thick and thin and helped him to achieve his dream. Mario Balotelli, the Italian striker, has been an inspiration for the Mizoram midfielder, and since he announced himself at the top most level, he has been wearing the no. 45 jersey just like his idol.

Mario Balotelli with the Jersey no. 45

Apuia not only improves the depth of the Mohun Bagan squad but also generates inner competition among the top professionals inside the dressing room. This leads to the overall development of the squad. His exceptional performance against Al Hilal was subdued by their loss. He played exceptionally well and proved his qualities against one of the best sides of this continent.

Apuia with Malcolm against Al Hilal

Now, Mohun Bagan’s midfield will consist of players like Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Abhishek Suryavanshi, Deepak Tangri, and Apuia. The depth itself makes a bold statement from the club.

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Apuia arrived on the 24th of July on Kolkata to finish his medical and other formalities with the club. In his first interview, he revealed that his jersey no. 45 will remain unchanged with the new club as well. He also added:

“I am incredibly honoured and excited to join Mohun Bagan Super Giant, a club that holds a special place in Indian football history. I am eager to work hard, learn from my Coaches and teammates, and contribute my best to help Mohun Bagan SG. I am grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to step onto the field and give my all for the club and its passionate supporters.”

Apuia after signing for Mohun Bagan Super Giant
Apuia in Mohun Bagan Super Giant Jersey

“If I’m the coach, I would play myself as a number six,”

Apuia announced himself first at the U-14 Subroto Cup. Apuia trained under the guidance of Head Coach Zarzoliana at The Regional Sports Training Centre Football Academy in Kolasib, Mizoram. The midfielder started his career with Indian Arrows and after two seasons in the I-League made a move to NorthEast United FC to make a debut in the ISL. Apuia made his Highlander career prominent and left for Mumbai City. It was Sergio Lobera who allowed his move and wanted him combined with Jahouh.

Apuia stats in 2024 for Mumbai City
Photo via Mohun Bagan Hub
(X – @MohunBaganHub)

This analysis is taken from Ben Griffis.

The Midfielder from Mizoram prefers to play as a number six. He can also play in several other positions as well. But also mentioned that 3 points at the end of the day makes him the happiest. After a solid breakthrough in 2020-21 ISL campaign, he earned the ‘Emerging Player of the Year Award’. In that season, his passing accuracy was 74.5% on an average. He made his International debut against Oman on March 21 which ended in a 1-1 draw.

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A Stint with Lommel S.K.

In 2022, Apuia went to Belgium’s second division side Lommel S.K. for a two-week training. Lommel S.K. is a football club based in Belgium. The club plays in the second-highest division in the landscape of Belgium Football. Mumbai City managed to reach the Final of the Durand Cup in 2022, even without Apuia but lost the final to Bengaluru FC. This short stint with the Belgium Second Division side helped Apuia to level up his game.

About the Deal

The degrading release clause in his contract permitted Mohun Bagan to place a hefty transfer fee of 1.6 CR (INR) inclusive taxes. However, Mumbai City FC paid more for Apuia when they bagged him from NorthEast United SC.

Lalengmawia Ralte becomes the first player to register outside the salary cap. The new registration guidelines of ISL allow clubs to register two players from outside the salary cap value of 18 CR. His calmness with the ball and endurance helps him to dominate a midfield in a football game. Apart from his defensive abilities, he is gorgeous with the ball at his feet. He can drop and feed the ball if needed. The midfielder scored a goal and assisted twice and helped his team to win the ISL Champion’s Trophy in 2023-24 season.

Apuia Ralte – Full season heat map 2024
Analyis by Abir Chowdhury (X – @ItzzJerryyyy)

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