Reclaiming the top spot – Nepali Football

Nepal has lost grounds in global football, according to the latest FIFA rankings. We are now placed at 174th position, having lost four spots. In the meantime, Pakistan, to whom Nepal lost two matches in a row, has climbed 19 steps and is four places ahead of us now.

I don’t read too much into the slight changes in FIFA rankings as it is a function of how well or how badly the team has done in past as well as how did it perform lately. It also takes into account what kind of opposition has it played and the results. So, Nepal beating Pakistan (who were well below us) would have changed our fortunes only marginally while Pakistan beating us changed their fortunes dramatically. Moreover, with AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers just around the corner, there is enough opportunity for Nepal to improve its ranking in months to come.

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An Experiment Called Football

 Nepali football fans have a moment of excitement as the Martyrs Memorial A division league has started in the capital. But just as the excitement builds up with 16 teams playing each other over a period of 3-4 months, some teams and their fans may not be such a happy lot.

When Mitra Milan Club of Dharan and Sangam Club of Pokhara were to play in the National League – bringing in 8 teams from capital and 2 teams from outside, following the A division League – last year, it brought in a lot of hope. It was hailed as an effort of bridging gap between teams from the capital and those from mofussil, which exists for real. But this year, they have been dropped and will not be playing in the championship, owing to their poor showing last year. While it is saddening for those clubs and their fans, it also raises questions in the minds who worry about Nepali football in general.

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The Erring Leadership…

“The only thing that remains constant in life, is change”

This must be the favorite adage for, Mohammed bin Hammam, the Qatari football official, who spearheaded Qatar’s successful bid to win the 2022 World Cup. It was the winds of change that got this son of a businessman and a nurse to Qatar’s football confederation and eventually made him the boss of Asian football.

Scandal-tainted Hamman has been banned temporarily from any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for a period of a maximum of 90 days, by FIFA’s Ethics Committee – in order to prevent interference with the establishment of the truth.

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