Things have changed too quickly for NEROCA FC in a space of two years. From dwelling in the second division of the I-league in 2016 to missing on the domestic crown by a mere three points on the final day, the Manipuri club itself is quite surprised at what it has achieved in such short period.No wonder, with such swift change, the club has struggled or say lacked resources to be on par with other clubs in terms of infrastructure.That’s why their new Spanish coach Manuel Retamero Fraile, who came hoping to manage a team that missed on lifting the league by a whisker last season, was left astounded at the lack of facilities at the club for his players. One of them was the club’s mandate of not using the newly-acquired training ground while it rained in Imphal.”Naye coach ne phle to aa kar foreign waale nakhre kie (the new coach threw his foreign tantrums at the beginning). He didn’t know that we don’t train at the training ground if it rains. The pitch will get destroyed if we practice on it when it’s wet. Slowly he started to understand how things work at NEROCA and is now adopting accordingly,” said skipper Lalit Thapa, who came up from the youth ranks of the club.It does strongly reflect on their pre-season result as the club has won all their matches convincingly including ISL side ATK.The goalkeeper, who is having his second stint at the club in the past three years, fondly remembers the time when the entire team only did running on the eve of a crucial match as the pitch wasn’t available.advertisement”Training pitch issue was chronic last season, we usually trained at a makeshift ground in a village nearby and was instructed not to train on it when it’s wet for the same reason. So (former) coach Gift Raikhan, who had this amazing ability to adapt to any situation, asked us to practice without the ball. He said football daud ne ka khel hai, tum sab daudo (football is all about running, so we only run today),” the 34-year-old goalkeeper chuckled.The club, under their president Arunkumar Thangjam, has eked out all the resources they had to keep the club at the level it was last season and made a major singing in Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa.For Lalit, the challenge personally lies in adapting to the role of modern sweeper-goalkeeper role under the new coach, that too with a big competition in newly-signed Italian goalkeeper Mauro Borechio.”This a learning curve for me, coach ordered don’t just use your hands, start using your feet too. And I know I have no choice but to excel at it. If I don’t do well then the new Italian goalkeeper will take my spot,” he laughed.NEROCA will start their league campaign against title contenders East Bengal at home ground Khuman Lampak Stadium on 27th October.