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I-League Media

NEROCA FC's resurrection a positive for the betterment of Indian football- Gift Raikhan

Written by: I-League

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The young manager also stressed that now local youngsters look to represent their local club rather than moving to the bright lights of Kolkata.

NEROCA FC coach Gift Raikhan stressed on the ‘collective work’ that NEROCA FC have put together to come up the ranks where they, the first-ever Manipuri side to ply their trade in the top division of Indian Football, are vying for the ultimate glory, the Hero I-League silverware, that too on their debut season itself.

“It is good for football. We are moving forward together and whatever we do is not for personal motive, it is for the better of football”, Gift Raikhan pointed out on the broader impact of Neroca FC’s resurrection on Indian Football.

Meanwhile, the young coach didn’t hide his emotions while saying that local youngsters now aspire to don the orange jersey of Neroca FC instead of sailing to Kolkata to represent the powerhouses as the scenario is changing the complexion now, all thanks to Neroca FC’s pristine form in the ongoing Hero I-League.

“Earlier, any young boy from Manipur would have gone to play for either Mohun Bagan or Kingfisher East Bengal. But the scenario is changing now, they want to play for Neroca – their home team.”

Indeed, the Manipuri outfit have shot up the expectations this season and they’ve grown from strength to strength with each passing match.

They missed to make the cut two seasons back and had to wait for another season to make their I-League debut. The expectations were higher, both on and off the field but the exuberance and sheer determination propelled them to the top spot after 16 games and the silverware is not a distant dream either.


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He added, “We started out as a second division club and learnt the tricks, gained experience. The players, management and the club as a whole developed together and then we were in a good mood for the I-League.”

Meanwhile, he vented out that Manipur’s love for football was not something unheard of before but now they have a team which can be pitted as their very own- Neroca FC.

“Now, people are putting their hands up and deciding to take on such projects to bring about a change in Manipur football. Manipur people might not be very rich, but they have passion and now they’ve experience too”- a very strong message indeed as well as a silver lining on the horizon.

Albeit passion and utmost zeal is the primary requirement in terms of writing a success story in Football, Gift Raikhan rightly points out that the passion and energy must be utilised in the right way and that’s the success mantra of Neroca FC.

“I hope this cycle continues forever for Neroca and I wish to be here. We have worked in a very sincere way to reach this position. The moment you work in football with a crazy mind and partiality, there is no success. But we worked in a tandem and in a systematic way, that is why we are successful.”

Neroca FC are leading the table at the moment having amassed 31 points from 16 matches. They’re slated to clash their swords with Mariners in their final home game of the ongoing Hero I-League season on Sunday.

Published: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:30 PM IST

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