Have proved we belong in top division, says Neroca FC coach

File Photo : Gift Raikhan
IANS|01-Mar-2018 18:35

New Delhi, March 1 : With his team firmly in the title race in their debut I-League season, Neroca FC coach Gift Raikhan asserted that his players have proved that they belong among the big boys of Indian football.

"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 contest against current third place holders East Bengal in the last match of their campaign on March 8. 

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

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"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.