KOLKATA: Neroca FC have won the I-League 2nd Division 2016/17 after the Manipur outfit drubbed Lonestar Kashmir FC 4-1 in Kashmir today, May 22 to become the first ever Team from Manipur to achieve the feat.
The victory lifted Neroca to 23 points from nine matches, seven points clear of their closest rivals Kolkata’s Southern Samity.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das lavished praise on the Second Division League champions saying, “After Aizawl FC’s success we have another team from the Northeast who are keeping the flag flying high. Congratulations NEROCA FC on winning the Second Division League!”
He added, “I am sure their achievement will encourage more to take up the sport and spur off another social revolution, this time in Manipur.”
Sunando Dhar, CEO of the I-League also lauded the Manipur-outfit. “After Shillong Lajong FC came up the ranks to represent the Northeast region in the National Football map, Aizawl FC set an example recently. Northeast has always been the hotbed of Indian Football and NEROCA FC would, surely, take the legacy forward,” he stated.
“With NEROCA FC’s introduction into the top flight Indian Football, the competition in the Northeast region will definitely be fiercer and tougher.”
Following their sole loss in the zonal round to Mohammedan Sporting Club in January 2017, NEROCA FC went on to continue an enviable unbeaten run of 12 matches including today’s win against LoneStar Kashmir FC. In the final round, the Gift Raikhan-coached side conceded only three goals in nine matches while netting not less than fifteen.
NEROCA has banked on experience and young talent as it brought back numerous Manipuri top level regulars to play for a club in their home state.