Manipur-based NEROCA FC have appointed former India international Renedy Singh as their new head coach. Renedy will initially take charge for the Super Cup, which begins on the 31st of March.
The club has parted ways with Manuel Retamero Fraile, who could only guide NEROCA to a sixth-place finish in I-League 2018-19. NEROCA had finished second in the I-League 2017-18 season.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, Renedy said that this is an exciting opportunity that he was looking forward to taking up, and that his experience as an advisor to NEROCA over the past two seasons will hold him in good stead.
Renedy also said that, over the last few months, he had donned the head coach's cap for Manipur State League side Sagolband United. "We beat NEROCA and TRAU in the state league, so I am happy with that."
Even though this is his first high-profile job as a head coach, Renedy said everything he's learnt since his retirement as a player. He was the assistant manager of FC Pune City in the ISL in 2015 and 2016, before taking up the roles at Sagolband and NEROCA.
"It is all well and good being the assistant coach, but there, you are only helping. I took up the role at Sagolband so that I could implement my own philosophy and use my own style, which is going to be important here at NEROCA," he said.
He also said he will take plenty of experience from his current role as a broadcaster with Star Sports. "I watch both leagues now and have a fair idea of all the teams across the country, and how they play, so now this is the next step for me," he said.
So, is this a long-term project at NEROCA? "I don't know yet," he said. "We want to do well in the Super Cup, and then we'll take it from there. There is no roadmap for the I-League next season yet, so once we know that, the club and I will sit and decide about the future."
Renedy also said it was going to be a tough challenge for his new club in the Super Cup. NEROCA have been drawn to face NorthEast United in the Round of 16 of the tournament, and the former India international is excited about going up against Eelco Schattorie, the NorthEast head coach, with whom he did punditry for Star Sports during the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
"NorthEast have had such a good season in the ISL. It's not just about them reaching the semifinal, they played some superb football. With a limited budget, they challenged the best teams in the league like Bengaluru FC and FC Goa. They should have also won in the league phase in Bengaluru, so it's going to be a tough game," Renedy said.
The AFC A-License holder is excited about his first big job as the head coach, and he says he couldn't be happier that it comes with a club from his home state.
"Manipur football has grown so much, so many clubs giving opportunities to Manipuri youngsters. I want to keep doing that, especially with NEROCA," he said.