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We have proven we belong in the I-League: NEROCA FC coach Gift Raikhan

With nine wins and four draws from their 17 matches so far, NEROCA FC under Gift Raikhan have had a fairly consistent run in the I-League this season

football Updated: Mar 01, 2018 19:26 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
I-League,NEROCA FC,Gift Raikhan
Gift Raikhan has led NEROCA FC to an unprecedented title challenge during the ongoing I-League season.(AIFF)

Neroca FC coach Gift Raikhan says his team has proved that it belonged to the top division with a string of impressive results that has put them in title contention in the I-League.

“As a new team in the league, we took it as a challenge to put up our best front. I think we have justified our promotion to the I-League. We have proven we belong here,” Raikhan said.

With nine wins and four draws from their 17 matches so far, Neroca have had a fairly consistent run this season. They are currently second on the league table with 31 points, just one behind leaders Minerva Punjab FC.

They face a must-win game against current third place holders East Bengal in the last match of their campaign on March 8.

Even a victory against East Bengal, though, will not be enough to give them the title if Minerva win their remaining two matches.

“What we did in the 2nd division is in the past. The I-League is a different ball game. You have to live in the present and take each day as it comes,” Raikhan said.

“Yes it is the top tier but you can’t let yourselves be bogged down by the occasion. Then you are doomed from the start,” he added.

Raikhan also credited Neroca’s success to the club management’s policy of retaining and nurturing almost the same set of players.

“Apart from a few signings, most of the squad stay the same. So the understanding, continuity and the consistency has paid off for us,” he said.

First Published: Mar 01, 2018 19:26 IST