Aizawl Football Club have announced on Wednesday that they have signed Gift Raikhan as their head coach for the upcoming I-League season.
The Manipuri had 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 the I-League.
"We are more than happy to announce that Gift Raikhan will be our new head coach for the upcoming season 2018-2019," read a statement from Aizawl FC.
"The People's Club is delighted that we could grab hold of a coach with great experience like Gift Raikhan," it added.
After ending his playing career with Pune FC, Raikhan had begun his coaching career in 2007 with the Pune-based club's youth development and went on to become the assistant coach of the first team. When Pune FC shut down in 2015, he returned to Manipur and joined NEROCA when the Imphal-based side were plying their trade in I-League's second division and soon, led the team to the top flight with an unbeaten record.
NEROCA had offered Raikhan with an offer to continue at the club, but the coach had turned down the request "to go on a new adventure in his career and gain more experience elsewhere," as NEROCA CEO Naoba Thangjam had informed Goal earlier.
As a player, Raikhan had represented the likes of BEML (Bharat Earth Movers Limited), Churchill Brothers, HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), Indian Bank and Vasco SC.
"I am very excited to take up the challenge at Aizawl FC. My primary aim is to make Aizawl title contenders once again," he told Goal after penning the deal with the former champions.