NEROCA FC coach, Gift Raikhan, a former Indian footballer has decided to end his two and a half year association with the club after guiding the Manipur-based club to 2nd position in the 11th edition of I-League.
NEROCA CEO, Naoba Thangjam, confirmed that Gift will not be continuing with NEROCA from this season. The decision was taken with mutual understanding as Gift is undertaking a new project. NEROCA did make an offer to the dynamic coach, however Gift expressed his interest for the new project.
When Pune FC was shut down in 2015, Raikhan returned to Manipur and joined NEROCA, when the Imphal-based side was slowly starting to make their mark in I-League second division. In the second attempt, NEROCA qualified to the top division after going unbeaten in the 2nd division.
Few expected NEROCA would go on to finish as runners-up, leap-frogging the likes of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. As a result, Raikhan was also handed the I-League Coach Of The Season award.
The former assistant coach of Pune FC led the club with young guns like Gopi Singh, Pritam Singh and Ronald Singh but also incorporated the experience of veteran players like Subhash Singh, Lalit Thapa and Gouramangi Singh which effused a perfect balance of youth and experience.
Gift has not yet declared details about his next venture and his next destination as coach is yet to be revealed.