For the amount of quality players that have come from the North-East part of the country, it was puzzling that India never had a champion from the region. There is no need worry about solving that puzzle anymore, though, after Aizawl FC created history by clinching the I-League title in dramatic fashion.
Needing just a point to be crowned champions after their brilliant 1-0 win over Mohun Bagan last weekend, Aizawl FC showed understandable nerves against their fellow North-East club Shillong Lajong, but in the end, they proved they are made of champion stuff after all.
After Lajong had opened the scoring in the ninth minute of the match, courtesy a header from the prolific Dipanda Dicka, the nerves were visible everywhere – could they really lose it all right at the end?
Nope, was the answer.
William Lalnunfela was sent on from the bench by Khalid Jamil, and the forward answered his manager, team and fans' calls by scoring the equaliser – the most important goal of his career so far – in the 67th minute.
With the game ending 1-1, it did not matter what Bagan did in their home game against Chennai City FC – the Kolkata giants won it 2-1 – because Aizawl FC had got their own Leicester City style fairytale, and nobody was going to take it away from them.
Most of the credit must go to the manager Jamil, who found that magical formula of creating a team built on team ethic and cohesion, rather than relying on a few star players to pull them through.
"At halftime, I just told the boys that you won't get another such 45 minutes in your life," Jamil said. "We knew we were 45 minutes away from being champions.
"We had to be extra special in the second half."
Jamil espoused the beauty of banding together as a team and the rewards that it can bring. "It is not just about me or any individual," Jamil added. "It is about teamwork.
"It is about the boys. They played continuously and played well. They deserve the credit."
There is no denying the magnitude of what Aizawl FC achieved this season, and Jamil has no doubts over the fact that this is his single greatest success.
"This is my biggest victory ever," Jamil said. "I always wanted to win the Hero I-League. Every time at the start of the season I used to tell myself that 'this year I should win it.'
"I had to wait. And this season we have won."
What the victory also showed was that the I-League isn't quite done yet. Many have already written the eulogies for India's national league owing to the popularity of the Indian Super League, but when you have teams such as Aizawl pull out such stunning victories, how can you let the league die?
The AIFF have a few tricky decisions to make in the future, but for the here and now, let's just celebrate this great victory from the plucky underdog.