I-League 2018: Gift Raikhan parts ways with NEROCA FC after successful stint
What's the story?
I-League side North Eastern Re-Organising Cultural Association Football Club (NEROCA FC) have parted ways with their head coach Gift Raikhan after a two and half year tenure, the club confirmed to Sportskeeda.
In case you didn't know...
NEROCA FC won the I-League Second Division in 2016-17 under Raikhan and were promoted to the top division. They also finished second in the recently concluded I-League, even leapfrogging Kolkata Giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
Gift Raikhan began his managerial career with Pune FC. He worked for the Red Lizards at various age levels from 2007 to 2013. After coaching the U15, U17, and U20 sides in Pune, Raikhan was promoted as the assistant coach of Pune FC up to 2013.
He was roped in by NEROCA FC in 2015 after Pune FC was dissolved.
The heart of the matter
Gift Raikhan was awarded the 'I-League Coach of the Year' in the I-League 2017-18 courtesy NEROCA's brave second place finish. The Imphal based Club finished just three points short of Champions Minerva Punjab.
Raikhan made use of an evenly balanced team with the right mixture of young and experienced players. Youngsters like Pritam Singh and Ronald Singh were instrumental to the club's success. Crucial experienced contenders like Subhash Singh, Lalit Thapa, and Gouramangi Singh collectively guided the youngsters to strive and work hard, making it easy for Raikhan to dictate tactics.
Media reports claim that NEROCA FC have shortlisted few names to replace the departing Raikhan as the head coach for the upcoming Manipur Football League and the I-League.
With Indian Super League and I-League sides parting away with their respective coaches after the end of the season, it would be interesting to see how Raikhan deals with potentially lucrative offers from India's Top Clubs.
NEROCA's FC's hunt for Raikhan's replacement is also expected to cook up some juicy rumors and stories in the Media.