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Dedicate runners-up finish to people of Manipur, says Neroca coach


Kolkata, March 8: Finishing runners-up in their debut I-League football season, Neroca FC head coach Gift Raikhan on Thursday dedicated their stellar performance to the people of Manipur.

"I dedicate the success to lovely people of Manipur, the club, myself and my family," Raikhan said at the post match press conference. 

Neroca held East Bengal to a 1-1 draw to finish behind champions Minerva Punjab FC with 32 points in their debut I-League season. 

"We wanted to win but being a new team and coach, even if I lost, I would not have any problem. I'm happy with the way the boys have responded. This has been an incredible season," Raikhan said.

Asked when he came to know that Minerva had taken the lead at Panchkula against Churchill Brothers with a 15th minute goal, Raikhan said he learnt that in the first half.

"We knew it in the first half only. But we were here to play and win. We were expecting the fightback from East Bengal from the likes of Dudu (Omagbemi) and Mahmoud Al Amnah," he said.

Mohun Bagan and East Bengal failed to win the title but Raikhan reserved special praise for them.

"They may not have got the League, but the way they are doing for the sport, they are always champions for me. I feel the expectations on them is too high, maybe that's the reason," he said.