Newport County: Kiban Rai becomes first Nepalese player in EFL

Kiban Rai

Newport County have made a historic move by signing Kiban Rai to his first professional contract. The 18-year-old striker, who hails from Brecon but has Nepali heritage, is set to make his mark in League Two, becoming the first Nepalese player to feature in the English Football League (EFL).

A Dream Come True

Rai’s football journey began at a grassroots level with Brecon Corinthians before his talents were spotted by Newport County. He joined the club’s academy system in 2021 and earned a scholarship contract. Following a strong showing at the academy level, Rai was called up to the senior squad for a match against Salford City last season.

His consistent performance eventually led him to make four first-team appearances, impressing manager Graham Coughlin. Coughlin shared his admiration for the young striker, saying, “Kiban caught our eye in the academy. He trained with the first team for several months and developed his game really well, and I was delighted to give him his first start against Crewe on the final day of last season.”

Upon signing his first professional contract, an elated Rai expressed his joy, saying, “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a young boy. To be able to do what I love full-time and to be presented with this opportunity is amazing. I couldn’t be happier.”

Inspiring Aspiring Footballers

In an interview with Sky Sports, Rai expressed his desire to inspire aspiring footballers from similar backgrounds. Becoming the first Nepalese player in the EFL, he hopes his journey can serve as a beacon of hope and motivation for others.

The Future

The manager hinted at a potential loan move for Rai in the future, emphasizing the need for the striker to gain more first-team experience. Regardless of the path ahead, Rai’s signing is a significant milestone for both the player and Newport County.

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