Where to, Nepali Football?

Nepali football sector must be a shocked lot these days. The reason: Crisis in New Road Team (NRT). The news of NRT being in financial crisis has jolted all who thought Nepali football is prospering.

You would have thought Nepali football is headed in right direction, after learning that Three Star Club bagged Rs 7.5 million for winning Shahid Smarak A Division League, Sagar Thapa pocketed an apartment for being the best player (by ANFA) and Sandip Rai drove a car home, for winning the Ncell best player of the year.

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The Home Jinx or Bad preparation?

Nepal has failed to move beyond the first round of AFC Challenge Cup. To be fair to the players in the present team, it should be added that the team hasn’t moved beyond first round, whenever it has played on the home soil.

Is it jinx? Or is it the effect of double edged sword called home crowd? Maybe, neither… Maybe it is the preparation the team has had, both times. Maybe it is lack of realization on our part that world football is dynamic and we are stagnant. Maybe it is a time we realize we haven’t won any international title in past two decades.

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Why Madhyapur makes me sad?

Madhyapur Youth Association is in the relegation zone, in the Sahid Smarak A Division League. And in all probability – unless something miraculous happens – this team will see themselves playing B Division football very soon.

Despite my belief that competition in any sport, at any level, should be top notch, I would be sad to see Madhyapur’s exit. For Madhyapur, given its brand of football, was one bright aspect of this season’s football. This is one team that made A Division competitions richer by ascending to the top league.  This is one team that needed to stay in the league, for the game benefitted due to its presence there.

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Hail Blatter (and ANFA)!

Sometime in the evening of International Women’s Day 2012, FIFA President, Joseph S Blatter wrote a message on internet microblogging site, Twitter, “Just opened AFC Challenge Cup match between Nepal and Palestine. Historic encounter, shows the power of football.”

Truly, it was a historic moment. For Nepal was hosting FIFA President first time in about 3 decades, and the highest level of tournament it has played so far.

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Restoring the Beautiful Game…

Imagine that yours truly invites you over at his place, for dinner, coffee or just like that. And just after pleasantries are exchanged, he manhandles you, for not dressing up for the occasion. How would you feel? Insulted? Humiliated? Hurt?

If your answer is yes, then you can empathize with the coach of Three Star FC, Meghraj KC, who must be feeling the same, after being manhandled in Butwal. Interestingly, the person who manhandled was not from opposing team, MMC, but one of the hosts – a member of Rupandehi Football Association, the organizers of this leg of National League.

The story unfolded like this: Three Star player, Bijay Dhimal had to leave the ground, following second yellow card. He kicked a water bottle which went towards spectators. Spectators, on their part, started throwing more bottles towards Three Star player box. During the debate between the organizers and club officials, Secretary of Rupandehi Football Association manhandled Three Star coach.

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The Will to Win

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”
Perhaps the adage exemplifies how sports changed in thelatter half of the 20th century. Attributed to UCLA coach Henry Russell Sanders and/or Americanfootball coach Vince Lombardi, the saying exemplifies how professionally sportsbegan to be taken post 1950s.
There was a clear shift from the Olympic spirit from thenon, which preached us that ‘The most important thing is not to win but to takepart, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but thestruggle ‘. While the Olympic spirit gave us a ‘chance to celebrate our sharedhumanity’, Sanders and Lombardi taught us how to be ‘winners’.

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Rupak Memorial Awards: A shot misfired?

All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) awarded 12 of its prized possessions this week. Since it started, Rupak Memorial Awards have held its position in Nepali football. And it would have saddened former national captain and FIFA referee Rupak Sharma – who passedaway in an unfortunate accident – to see that the award was discontinued for some years.
For restarting the awards, ANFAdeserves a pat on its back. Restarting a discontinued event to an organizationis akin to a player trying to force his way back into the game after injury.It’s a mental fight, which gets tougher by every passing day. And ANFA shouldbe lauded. After all, these prizes are what makes the players struggle harder,compete better.
However, much as the restartneeds to be congratulated, it should be critically viewed. There are somechinks in the whole episode that should not be ignored and if not corrected intime, would neither improve ANFA’s image nor its working style. Some questionswould demand answer.

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A sign of Good Times to come?

Heard a conversation in a public vehicle: God must be Nepali. For he made sure we dowell in two sports in a single day.
Needless to say, the person inquestion was talking about Nepali football team’s performance against Jordan (2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers) and U-19 cricket team’s start in ICC U-19 WorldCup qualifiers.
Yes,Nepali Colts beat Afghanistan convincingly. Most were expecting the result, maybe not with such a margin though.
But in another case, Jordan advanced to the group stage of the qualifiers, beatingNepal by a huge margin. The scores, in aggregate, stood at 10-1 in favor ofJordan, while Nepal managed merely a draw at home. So what’s the fuss about? A draw?