Leading NEROCA FC a privilege and also a responsibility: Head coach Khogen Singh
NEROCA FC coach Khogen Singh is excited for upcoming I League 2022 season and feels privileged to lead NEROCA FC.
Imphal-based NEROCA FC have emerged as an exciting team to watch over the last few editions of the Hero I-League. The Orange Brigade, as they are fondly referred to, have put together a squad brimming with talent for the forthcoming season and will be eager to put on a strong display for their passionate fans.
Midfielder Jiteshwor Singh, who won the Emerging Player of the League award with NEROCA in 2021-22, departed the club in the summer transfer window, while the likes of Sergio Mendigutxia, Juan Mera, Khaiminthang Lhungdim, and Md Abdul Salam -- all key players from last season -- have also exited the team.
The club have reinforced their squad with a number of talented players, which includes forward Jourdain Fletcher, who won the title with Gokulam Kerala FC last season, attackers Thiago Santos and John Chidi from Brazil and Nigeria respectively, and Sierra Leonean defender David Simbo.
Leading NEROCA FC from the touchline once again will be Wangkhem Khogen Singh, who previously led Minerva Punjab FC to a memorable Hero I-League title victory in 2017-18, where NEROCA FC incidentally made their debut in the division as well and finished runners-up. I-League media team caught up with the head coach ahead of the new campaign, as he shared his thoughts on the team and the road ahead.
How have your preparations been going on for the new season?
Our pre-season began in August and now, our daily training sessions are going on in full swing, keeping in step with the season's plan. Getting the privilege to participate and compete in the 131st edition of the Durand Cup has also given us very beneficial exposure. We have built up a good team and all of us are ready for the upcoming season in the Hero I-League.
How excited are you with the prospect of the fans returning to the stadiums this season?
We are very much looking forward to the cheers and support of our fans. They definitely play a major role in a team's success. They give a sense of energy, with their passion and love for the game. They make all the efforts worth it.
How does it feel leading a team from your home state?
Leading a team from my home state is a great privilege and also a responsibility. It is a special feeling since people in Manipur are extremely passionate about sports, especially football.
What are your thoughts on the squad's composition and their potential style of play?
Our team is a good mixture of experienced players, along with some young, energetic, and skilful players. Additionally, we have four foreign players in the team. They are all experienced and hard-working. We are confident that they will give their best and help in strengthening the team and achieving our target. Our potential style is chiefly positional play.
What are your expectations and targets for the coming season?
We hope to give our best in every match we play and expect to finish in the Top 5 on the points table at the end of the season.