When Chennaiyin FC bought Thoi Singh for Rs.86 lakhs in 2015, he became the third costliest player of the auction, behind former teammates Sunil Chhetri and Eugeneson Lyngdoh. The 24 year old had earned it, having played some terrific football in the middle of the park for Bengaluru FC in the ILeague in the previous season. Thoi Singh has played for 8 different clubs in his 10 years since turning pro. The Thoubal, Manipur born Central midfielder started his youth career by representing his state Manipur in the Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy. Thoi impressed in the National level Under 16 tournament, thus prompting Indian Bank, a Chennai based club to sign the player in 2006. Indian Bank played in the 2nd Division of the I-League.
Nicknamed India’s Small Wonder by Deccan Chronicle, Thoi Singh steadily developed his game at Mahindra United
Thoi had a steady influence in the centre of the park with Indian Bank, which attracted the interest of Mahindra United, a Maharashtra based team playing in the 2nd Division of I-League. Mahindra United offered Thoi a three years contract. The offer proved to enticing to turn down and thus Thoi made the switch from Indian Bank to Mahindra United after just a single year with the South Indian club.
In his first season with the club, Mahindra United reached the finals of the Durand Cup, losing out to the Churchill Brothers 1-0. This agonising defeat only freshened the spirits of Thoi Singh and Mahindra United to try even harder the following season to go all the way. Mahindra United did exactly that, famously defeating Churchill Brothers 3-2 in a repeat of last years finals. This was a sweet victory for the club, as they exacted revenge on Churchill Brothers along with lifting the Durand Cup for the second time.
Thoi scored 8 times in his three years with Mahindra United, developing his skills as a Central midfielder along with gaining valuable minutes. As a teenager with little experience at the top level, Thoi would have found it difficult to gain first team experience at any other big club, but Mahindra United’s decision to invest in youth paid off for Thoi, who was ready for the next step in his career, after honouring his contract with the 2nd Division Club.
Thoi joined Salgaocar on a successful yet frustrating season in the I-League
Thoi Singh impressed with his performance and the 20 year old received a huge step up in his career when Salgaocar came calling for his services. He was offered a one year contract at the Goa based club, and the attraction of playing in the then highest League in Indian football. Thoi had a successful season with the club, winning the I-League in just his first season for the club and in the league. But Thoi had a frustrating season on the individual front.
Thoi made just 8 I-League appearances, scoring a solitary goal from Central midfield. He was mainly used as a squad player, which was not the kind of role the 21 year old was looking for, having impressed for Mahindra United. Thus, when Baichung Bhutia came calling with an invitation to play for United Sikkim in the 2nd Division of I-League, Thoi gladly accepted to play alongside Renedy Singh, Sandesh Jhingan and the legend himself, Baichung Bhutia. Thoi was a regular starter for United Sikkim, playing 32 League games in his two years stint from 2011 to 2012.
He was an influential presence in the centre of the park, scoring 10 times for the Sikkim based club. The youngster, who was just 21 when he joined the club, had truly made a step up with United Sikkim, bossing the midfield and putting in commanding displays game after game. Thoi was at the heart of everything good at United Sikkim and his second season with the club saw it gain promotion to I-league 1st Division.
Thoi joined the United Sikkim journey, following Sandesh jhingan and Renedy Singh into the 2nd Division
Dodsal FC, now known as Mumbai Tigers, promised Thoi Singh that they would build a team around him and lured him back to the 2nd Division of I-League immediately after he earned promotion with United Sikkim. Dodsal FC was a newly formed club, which was going to play its first season in 2013. Thoi had a fantastic season with Dodsal FC as he scored their first ever goal against Army Red in the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi in the Durand Cup.
Dodsal FC reached the finals of the Durand Cup in their inaugural season, with their fairytale journey ending in a heartbreaking defeat against Air India on penalties. Thoi had an incredible season and had grabbed the attention of big clubs from the I-League. But as fate would have it, he would join another new comer. Newly formed Bengaluru FC came calling for Thoi’s services and he would duly oblige, joining the new entrant straight into the I-League.
Thoi was a regular starter for Bengaluru FC, playing a big part in their Cup and League successes
Thoi was a regular starter with Bengaluru, playing in 21 League games, supplying three goals from midfield as Bengaluru won the I-League in their inaugural season in the I-League. This was Thoi’s second I-League title in just his second season in the top flight football, which was an incredible achievement. More success followed in the next season as Thoi won the Federations Cup with Bengaluru FC, as they finished runners up behind eventual winners Mohun Bagan.
Thoi played 16 league games, but missed out on the inaugural season of the ISL as Bengaluru players were not given the No Objection Certificate to join the ISL bandwagon on short term loan dealsIn the auction before the second season of ISL, Chennaiyin FC splashed out 86 lakhs on a 25 year old combative yet fast midfielder from Manipur. Thoi played for Chennaiyin in each and every game, playing a crucial role in the middle of the park. He was just entering his peak years and his performances justified the hefty price tag as Chennaiyin FC reached the Semifinals of the ISL.
Thoi did not score any goal, but kept the midfield ticking with his impressive style and strong performances. Thoi suffered a dip in form as he returned to Bengaluru on a loan spell in the I-League. He played just 13 league games, injuring himself, which curtailed his loan spell along with sidelining him for the new ISL season. Thoi managed to make just two appearances in the ISL, as Chennaiyin FC won the ISL against FC Goa. Thoi had thus added yet another title to his already impressive goal record.
Thoi was snapped up by Chennaiyin FC for Rs.86 lakhs
Finally, in the latest draft, Chennaiyin FC got a hold of their very own combative midfielder by paying Rs.57 lakhs for his services. With the new season approaching thick and fast, Thoi Singh, who is in his peak years at just 26 years old, has a crucial do or die season in front of him with the end goals being breaking into the Indian National team. Having played at every youth level for Indian National team, Thoi Singh is still waiting for that elusive National cap. Let’s see if the 4th season of ISL manages to change that.