Hardworking defender Varney Kallon Kiatamba has made history as he helped NEROCA FC emerge as champions of the I-League Second Division, the second biggest league in India after the Hero-I League and the India Super League.
The club is the first from the North-Eastern region to achieve such feat. The Orange Brigade from the Manupuri region have been in the shadows of several clubs since their establishment in 1965.But, it was in 2016 they managed to prove their worth after Kiatamba joined them and they soon became an ambitious club playing in the Second Division qualifiers where they were outstanding as teams from all states participated, something brought to the fore by the I-League Core Committee. NEROCA demolished Southern Samity 4-1 with a brace from Pritam Singh in the 25th and 36 minutes followed by a goal each from Subash Singh in the 57th minute and the Nigerian Felix Chidi after 61 minutes to get the nod to participate in the I-League Aecond Division 2016/17 season.
The top two teams thus got the license to compete in the I-League Second Division.But, it was in the Durand Cup, India’s oldest cup, that NEROCA first made a statement as they showed class before losing in the final to Army Green in post match penalties 5-6 after a gruelling goaless draw. The Durand Cup was first played in 1888 and is named after Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary in Charge of India, 1884-1891.
NEROCA with Kiatamba a mainstay wearing the #5 shirt marshalling the defense,won the 12 team league as they made history playing better than the likes of Delhi United, Fateh Hyderabad, Hindustan, Kenkre, Lone Star Kashmir,Mohammedan, Ozone, Pride Sports, Real Kashmir, Southern Samaty and Suideva Moonlight. Varney Kallon has become a hero at the 30,000 capacity Khuman Lampal Main Stadium as the fans have made all kinds of songs in his name, stopping attackers, making forays upfront and his imposing figure always counting in games, making him a favorite of Coach Gift Raikhan who has described his Liberian import as “a gift to NEROCA”
Varney Kallon Kiatamba first came to prominence when he featured for Haja FC now Gardnersville FC in the Second Division before moving to now disbanded Karn United and then LPRC Oilers, a club he was with till he travelled with compatriot Keith Nah to Myanmar where they featured for Chin United in the 2013/14 season.The player is one of fresh talent yearning to get a chance to feature for the Lone Star in the ensuing 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers as he has improved in leaps and bounds and is a player on the look for.