Reigning Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC are excited to announce that 23-year-old left back Ngasepam Tondonba Singh has agreed pre-contract terms with the club, set to make the move from I-League outfit NEROCA FC on a free transfer when the summer transfer window officially opens in June.
Tondonba was ever-present at left back for the Manipuri side that finished second in its inaugural I-League campaign, playing in 17 of the 18 league matches, with two assists to his name. He will pen a two-year contract with the two-time ISL champions.
This will be Tondonba’s first stint outside Manipur and Imphal specifically, having played for NEROCA’s youth teams since the age of 11, making his debut for the senior team in the Manipur State League at 16.
“I’m feeling really good on signing for Chennaiyin FC. I’m looking forward to learning and becoming a better player under the coach (John Gregory). I’m very grateful for this huge opportunity and I promise to work hard and prove myself at this level,” said an elated Tondonba on agreeing terms with the ISL title-holders.
Head Coach John Gregory hailed Tondonba’s signing as a step in the right direction, further strengthening the Chennaiyin backline that was key to last season’s success.
He said, “I’ve always believed in healthy competition for places in the eleven and Tondonba is a welcome addition in that regard. I have been told he is a solid defender with a very gifted left foot and great ability to overlap. He looks to be a player with immense potential as has been proved by his performances for NEROCA last season.”
Tondonba is the youngest in his family that comprises his parents and an older brother. Affectionately called ‘Nanao’ by his loved ones, Tondonba grew up in Imphal watching his father and brother play football, nurturing the dream of becoming a professional footballer from a very early age. He started training at the Khuman Lampak Youth Affairs & Sports (YAS) Academy when he was 7, before joining NEROCA’s youth ranks at the age of 11.
Idolising Real Madrid left back Marcelo, Tondonba is naturally left-footed and has played at left back from the beginning. “I have always loved running, from a young age. And when I began playing football, I enjoyed overlapping a lot. Hence I became a left back,” he stated.