Kiban Rai Becomes First Nepalese Player to Sign Professional Contract in English Football League
London — Brecon’s 18-year-old football sensation, Kiban Rai, has made history by signing his first professional contract with Newport County Football Club. As the first player of Nepalese heritage to secure a professional contract in the English Football League, Kiban aims to inspire footballers from similar backgrounds to chase their dreams.
Kiban’s journey with Newport County began in 2021 when he joined their academy after catching the eye of scouts while playing for Brecon Corries. His exceptional talent earned him a scholarship contract, and he seized the opportunity to make four appearances in the first team during the previous season. Kiban’s remarkable debut against Salford City marked the beginning of a promising career.
On the final day of the season, Newport County’s manager, Graham Coughlin, rewarded Kiban’s dedication by granting him his first start against Crewe Alexandra. Playing alongside Newport’s top goal scorer, Omar Bogle, in a thrilling 2-2 draw, Kiban showcased his skills and potential.
Expressing his joy and gratitude, Kiban shared his excitement in a recent interview on Newport County’s YouTube channel. He stated, “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a young boy, and to do what I love full-time and to be given this opportunity is great, so I couldn’t be happier.”
During the interview, Kiban was asked about his Nepalese heritage and the possibility of playing for either the Welsh or Nepalese national team. He expressed his aspiration to represent his country internationally, whether it be for Wales or Nepal. Kiban also expressed his desire to inspire aspiring footballers of Nepalese background, hoping to serve as a role model and motivate them to pursue their dreams.
Newport County finished 15th in League Two last season and will face fellow Welsh club Wrexham FC, owned by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, in the upcoming season after their promotion from the National League. Newport’s manager, Graham, acknowledges the importance of the upcoming pre-season for Kiban’s development, emphasizing that he will gain valuable experience whether he continues with the first team or goes out on loan.
As Kiban Rai embarks on his professional career, the football community eagerly anticipates witnessing his progress and the positive impact he will make both on and off the pitch.