I-League 2017/18: Neroca FC sign former Queens Park Rangers midfielder Nick Ward
What's the story?
Australian football player Nick Ward has joined I-League club Neroca FC in the ongoing I-League season. The club has just the two matches left and currently lies on top of the table. The club has a fairytale story of its own as it made its debut in the I-League Division II in the 2015-16 season and is making its first appearance in the first division. Ward has been brought in to bolster Neroca's chances of their maiden I-League title.
In case you didn't know...
Ward brings a lot of top-level experience with him as he has formerly played for English clubs like Queens Park Rangers and Brighton and Hove Albion. He has also represented a number of Australian clubs like Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets etc.
He was awarded the A-League Young Player of the Year award in 2005-06, and made a total of 32 appearances for the junior Australian national side, scoring six goals with them, that very year.
The heart of the matter
Neroca FC are on a dream run here and could emulate the feat of Aizawl FC last season. However, they would need the right players for the final push. Ward will be accompanied by his compatriot Aryn Williams and other players from different countries like Liberia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria and Haiti.
Before joining Neroca, Ward was playing for the Australian side Bentleigh Greens but he could not make any appearance for them.
Although Neroca are two points ahead of second-placed Minerva Punjab, they have played a couple of extra games. Even if they win their next two games, three wins by Minerva Punjab out of four matches will seal the title for them.
Thus, Neroca will be relying on luck as well. Nick Ward could make his debut on the 18th of February at the Khuman Lampak Stadium against Mohun Bagan.
Ward is an experienced player, but introducing a new player into the team at the dying stage of the tournament might not work well with their system and may hamper team coordination as well. However, with the Super Cup coming up, Ward could turn out to be a key addition to the Neroca squad.