Manipur’s biggest names in football, including former India midfield mainstay Renedy Singh, lauded Neroca FC’s feat of winning the second division league and becoming the first club from the state to scale the height. The Orange Brigade had a perfect sign-off as they thrashed Southern Samity 4-1.
A fine brace from Pritam Singh (25′, 36′), a goal piece from Subash Singh (57′) and Felix Chidi (61′) secured the victory for the hosts after conceding an early goal by ace striker Ashim Biswas (10′).
Neroca FC finish their national finals with 26 points from 10 matches comprising of eight wins and two draws whereas second-placed Southern Samity stay nine points shy having played an equal number of matches.
“It is a huge achievement,” commented Renedy Singh, arguably the biggest name to have emerged from Manipur’s galaxy.
“The win came at the right time which will prove worthwhile for not only the club but for Indian football as a whole,” he stated.
Defender Gouramangi Singh couldn’t hold back his emotions while speaking about Neroca’s FC achievement.
“It is probably the best ever ‘collective’ advertisement of Manipuri football till now. I have been following Neroca FC since their inception. The management have shown a real intent, the results are there for all to see.
“On a scale of 10, I would give them full marks – 10 out of 10,” he said.
He added: “Since the zonal round, they have played like true champions and eventually lifted the silverware.” Surkumar Singh, the former India right back described Neroca FC’s win from a different point.
“Neroca’s win will have a terrific impact on the youngsters who want to take football as a career option. The parents will look forward to encouraging their kids to play the game with more seriousness,” he felt.
Surkumar quipped: “Had we had a team from Manipur during our playing days, we would have emerged as the best team. I wish I was 20 again and I could play for Neroca,” he smiled. Gouramangi credited Neroca for not “losing hope”.
“Neroca FC came very close last year too but others pipped them to make the cut. I would credit them for not losing hope. They had to push the limits this year to overcome the barrier and they rightly did so,” Gouramangi said.
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