Gift Raikhan has decided to terminate his two-and-half-year-long stay with North Eastern Re-Organising Cultural Association (NEROCA) after guiding them to the second spot in the 11th edition of I-League.
"Gift will not be continuing with NEROCA this season. The decision has been made with mutual understanding as he wants to undertake a new project on his own. We did give Gift Raikhan an offer for the next season but he wanted to go on a new adventure in his career and gain more experience elsewhere. It is not yet confirmed but we have zeroed on a particular candidate. I think we will be able to share the name in some time," confirmed Naoba Thangjam, CEO of NEROCA to Goal.
When Pune FC shut down in 2015, Raikhan returned to Manipur and joined NEROCA, when the Imphal-based side were plying their trade in I-League second division. In the second attempt, NEROCA qualified to the top division after going unbeaten in the 2nd division.
Few expected that NEROCA would go on to finish as runners-up leap-frogging the likes of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. As a result, Raikhan was also handed the I-League coach of the season award.
The former assistant coach of Pune FC laid his trust on the young guns like Gopi Singh, Pritam Singh and Ronald Singh but also incorporated the experience of veteran players like Subhash Singh, Lalit Thapa and Gouramangi Singh which effused a perfect balance of youth and experience.
When Goal contacted Raikhan to learn about his next destination the coach informed that he is yet to take a decision.