I-League: NEROCA staring at relegation, face Sudeva


A slump in form has probably come at the worst of times for North Eastern Re-Organising Cultural Association (NEROCA) Football Club as the Manipur-based club find themselves in the relegation spot with just a couple of matches left to go in the I-League season. The Gift Raikhan-coached team will face Sudeva Delhi FC in a do-or-die battle for survival at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium on Tuesday.

Defeats to the Indian Arrows and Aizawl FC in their last two matches have heaped more pressure on NEROCA, who need to win their next two games and hope results go their way if they are to stay in the league. The last time these two sides met, NEROCA defeated Sudeva Delhi FC 2-0 and Gift Raikhan’s side would be aiming to take inspiration from that win and aspire for maximum points.

“The match will be very, very important tomorrow against Sudeva Delhi FC because if we collect 3 points from them, we have chances to play against Chennai in the last match and survive relegation. The boys know the importance of this fixture,” said Raikhan.

“We have lost matches against the likes of Churchill, Kashmir, RoundGlass, Indian Arrows, and Aizawl that were very closely contested. We could have won those matches and we would not have been in this situation. But, what has happened has happened. We learn from our mistakes and are looking to come out of the relegation. We hope to win tomorrow and claim the three important points,” he said.

Sudeva Delhi, who are immune to relegation, come into the clash after having rested in the last matchday. Their last match was a 2-1 win against Chennai City and that win has helped them sit comfortably with 12 points from 11 matches — four points ahead of NEROCA.

“In our last match against NEROCA, it wasn’t our day and they got lucky. We have learned lots of lessons from our previous encounter and we will go for the win,” said assistant coach Pushpender Kundu.

“Long breaks tend to break the momentum of the team but this time around we are focused and determined. We have worked on our positioning and finishing. Boys are motivated for tomorrow’s match and we will surely get the three points,” he said.