The Wellington Phoenix will play the last two games of their Indian tour in the north-east city of Shillong, home of I-League team Shillong Lajong.
Driving down the narrow streets packed with cars sounding their horns and jostling for position with pedestrians it is hard to come to terms with the fact that Shillong-s population is bigger than Dunedin-s.
Tomorrow the Phoenix will play an Indian selection at the city-s Nehru Stadum and on Saturday will meet either Shillong Lajong or URO United Sikkim in the final of the North-East Super Series.
Shillong Lajong FC has something in common with the Wellington club, it being described in a recent newspaper article as “a story of the proverbial ‘Phoenix- rising from the ashes”.
North East India-s most famous club, Shillong Lajong has, throughout the years, slowly but surely been asserting itself as an Indian football powerhouse.
The coming I-League season will be its third in the competition and second in a row, making it the only club from the area to do so.
Shillong Lajong is now coached by Scot Des Bulpin, who is no stranger to Indian football, having coached the Under-21 Indian Team and Pailan Arrows in the I-League 2010-11 season.
He has plied his trade mostly in England, where he worked with Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers, and Leicester City FC.
Wellington Phoenix v Indian Selection, Wednesday 29 August, kick off 3.15pm local, 9.45pm NZT.