I-League 2nd Division



  • goalkeepargoalkeepar Turkish occupied Cyprus29267 Points
    They do have a state of art residential academy
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India29696 Points

    JECRC FC rebrands to Rajasthan United FC

    Former R-league Champions, JECRC FC, have been renamed Rajasthan United FC. The club which was among the eight teams that participated in the inaugural Rajasthan League (R-League), which they subsequently won, have rebranded themselves to become more pan India.

    The club was founded by Kamal Singh Saroha in 2016 alongside Rajat Mishra, both of whom have been footballers themselves. They look to bring football and footballing culture to Rajasthan.

    When quizzed about the renaming, Saroha had this to say, ” We have players from Nohar, a small football-loving village in Rajasthan as well as Mount Abu, along with bigger cities like Udaipur and Jaipur. In many ways, we are representing the whole state. Renaming our club is a small step in taking our club to new heights and to fulfil our aim of bringing football to Rajasthan .”

    As a state which is not known for football, the lack of a proper footballing structure in Rajasthan has proven to be a hindrance for various clubs from the desert state.

    The Rajasthan Football Association after several years of inactivity, finally launched the Rajasthan men’s Football League in 2018-19, which paved the way for JECRC FC to play in the state’s first top tier tournament.

    Playing along with seven other teams, JECRC FC managed to pick up 18 points from the seven games winning the league. The lack of monetary funds, as well as certain infrastructure, prevented the club from taking their next step into the I-league second division, leaving room for AU Rajasthan FC, who were the runners-up to take their place.

    JECRC FC players after their R-league triumph

    But since then, the club has not looked back. Making several in-roads into sponsorship deals as well as player recruitment and infrastructure related development. JECRC FC got renamed to Rajasthan United FC, in order to take the club to new heights.

    RUFC have now adopted the club colours of maroon and blue. While, the forts, the Thar desert and Rajasthan’s warrior king Maharana Pratap make up the crest. The pink city of Jaipur will remain as their base.


  • mohammed_87hassanmohammed_87hassan Sumeet Passin FC Jupiter10454 Points
    ashindia said:
    @munna219777 will know 
    He is the owner  B)
    Munna is the rich business man from Europe funding this team. 

    He spends 100s of hours online scouting players
  • good to see diversity and new unknown clubs in i league. this is what should be have been the case in early 2000's which in reality was a goa+kolkata league . 
  • goalkeepargoalkeepar Turkish occupied Cyprus29267 Points
  • EastBengalPrideEastBengalPride India9298 Points
    naotoyo said:
    I love the thrill that comes with every tournament of Indian football. It's just so intense and fun to watch, just like online casinos. There are many promising players now and I love it. Looking forward to the rest of the season.
    @munna219777 Please remove this bot.
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India29696 Points
    Excellent article on RUFC

    Engineer builds a football club: From football’s backwaters, Rajasthan United make it to I-League

    In 2014, a first-year engineering student started a football team at his college for a casual kickabout. Four years later, his side was asked to take part in the Rajasthan state league to make up the numbers. Last Saturday, the club, Rajasthan United, pulled off one of the most improbable heists in Indian football: qualifying for the I-League, Indian football’s second division.

    “This feels like a Hollywood movie,” says Kamal Saroha, the 26-year-old civil engineer, who is the co-owner of Rajasthan United.

    In the last few years, the I-League has produced many an underdog tale – be it the emergence of Bengaluru FC, the rise of Aizawl, the feisty Minerva Punjab, or the gritty performances by Real Kashmir.

    With each passing season and every heart-warming story, the league expanded its footprint across the country. In that sense, Rajasthan United’s qualification carries forward the trend of minnows defying odds in Indian football.

    At the same time, their rise is different.

    Every region that witnessed these miracles on the field had some sort of football culture. Not Rajasthan, however. The state was home to one of India’s famous teams of the 60s and 70s, the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary.

    But it has never had a professional club and hasn’t produced a player of repute since the two Rajvi brothers, Magan and Chain, who dazzled crowds across the country in the 60s and 70s.

    This, the lack of culture, was Saroha’s first observation when he moved from Delhi to study at the Jaipur Engineering College and Research Centre (JECRC) in 2014. “Even the college didn’t have a team,” he says. So, he assembled a group of football-crazy students and formed one.

    No one, though, imagined the casual post-lecture matches would turn into something serious, especially after the frequency of those games reduced during the final year, when campus placements were around the corner.

    Kamal Saroha, a 26-year-old civil engineer, is co-owner of Rajasthan United

    Saroha, who wanted to pursue sports management, reluctantly accepted a job offer from a Gurgaon-based infra firm upon the insistence of his family. “But it was so frustrating,” he says. “You can imagine the life of a just-graduate engineer trainee. No football… The frustration reached such a level that, one day, I started crying in front of my mother.”

    After six months, Saroha quit his job, left Delhi and returned to Jaipur where, along with a friend, he launched a sports apparel company, which supplied kits to local football teams in Rajasthan.

    One of their clients was AU Rajasthan FC, now named Rajasthan Perfect, who harboured the hopes of competing in the second division of I-League. In 2018, an AU Rajasthan official approached Saroha with a request to field a team in the state league the following year.

    “They were falling short by one to meet the minimum criteria – without eight teams, they couldn’t conduct the state league. And if that tournament did not take place, a club from Rajasthan would not be eligible to compete in the second division of the I-League,” Saroha says.

    At first, the then 23-year-old laughed at the mere thought of forming a team that would compete in the Rajasthan League. But after a lot of convincing, he agreed.

    “I revived some of my contacts from JECRC FC and got a few players from there. The rest we got from other parts of the state. It was bizarre. AU Rajasthan had A and B licensed coaches… I was gathering everyone only on relation,” Saroha says. “I couldn’t even afford to pay anyone but the players were more than happy to take part as long as their food and accommodation were taken care of.”

    The JECRC FC team comprised teachers, physical trainers and students. And, the team that was there just to make up the numbers defeated the professional outfit that AU Rajasthan was to become 2019 Rajasthan League champions and become the state’s entry for the I-League second division.

    “Suddenly, I was in an alien territory,” Saroha, who had only ‘managed’ his college team before this, says. “I knew what the second division was but had no idea about the rules. I downloaded all the documents and educated myself,” he says. But it was all too overwhelming and that year, the club gave the second division a pass. “We weren’t prepared for it.”

    In 2020, when the football world, like the rest of the planet, came to a standstill owing to the pandemic, Saroha made sure he was prepared for the next season. He first made two of his friends – Rajat Mishra, an entrepreneur and Swapnil Dhaka, a footballer – ‘co-founders’ of the club. The trio renamed JECRC FC to Rajasthan United, then tied up with an international school in Bhilwara to set up a residential academy and began scouting for youth players across Rajasthan.

    When the state league returned in July 2021, they were better placed than before. But Rajasthan United finished second behind another state heavyweight, Zinc, who entered the I-League second division on the virtue of being the champions.

    Zinc, however, were unable to meet All India Football Federation’s licensing criteria, which made them ineligible to compete. Consequently, Rajasthan United, who were next in the queue, snuck in. “On August 30, we got to know we go for the qualifiers. And 31st was the last day to register the players,” Saroha says.

    The club’s chief executive, Dinesh Negi, the three co-founders and coach Vikrant Sharma began negotiations at express pace. “We signed almost a dozen players in a very short span. In fact, the registration of our centre-back, Gurmukh Singh, was completed at 11.59 pm, one minute before the deadline!” Saroha says.

    Their campaign, too, was touch and go.

    Boots which cost Rs 500

    When Rajasthan United landed in Bangalore, where the I-League second division was held earlier this month, not many gave Rajasthan United a chance. More so, after their first game against Shillong’s Rynith FC where they went 3-0 up but almost threw away the lead before holding on to win 3-2.

    “No one expected us to do a lot after that match,” Saroha says. “We were a team with players who’d been together for a few weeks, while others had been training for months and competed in a couple of tournaments, too. Some of our players were playing with shoes that cost Rs 500. It was a complete mismatch.”

    But coach Sharma, who played for Goan giants Dempo and Churchill Brothers, made sure his team remained unbeaten throughout the tournament and crucial wins over Delhi and Bhopal-based Madan Maharaj put them in pole position to qualify for the I-League.

    In the final match, Rajasthan just needed to avoid defeat against Mumbai’s Kenkre FC, who had to win to qualify. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, true to a movie script, goalkeeper Vishal Joon, after a forgettable start to the campaign, produced a heroic performance and Rajasthan held on to a goalless draw to qualify for the I-League.

    “It’s tough to describe all that’s happened,” Saroha, who has begun his hunt for an investor for the I-League, says. “All this was just for fun.”

    “All this was just for fun.” And now, improbable as it sounds, the engineer has ended up building a football club.


  • NagendraNagendra Rajahmundry, A.P6510 Points
    Excellent & inspirational story.  I wish them all the best in I League . Hope they find investor very soon.
  • munna219777munna219777 28514 Points
    edited October 2021
    In past, Hindustan Zinc limited,  Zawar Udaipur  and khetri copper plant used to have PSU  teams.
    After Disinvestment,  they were sold to Vedanta Group. 
    They are a rich Corporate and they also own Sesa from Goa.
    Strange that they did not pass Licensing Criteria.
  • the article is so well written, just like an underdog sports story. there should be a web series based on this.
Sign In or Register to comment.