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Renaissance in football

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016


From the Nepali Press

Editorial in Naya Patrika, 16 February

The Nepali football team has given all Nepalis a reason to cheer about by defeating arch-rival India 2-1 on their home field, taking gold in the South Asian Games (SAG) after 23 long years. The euphoria with which Nepalis celebrated this rare triumph on social media shows how thirsty they were for a feat like this.

Since winning the gold in football in the 1993 SAFF championship, Nepal had not captured a major international football title until last month. Less than one month after lifting the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Bangladesh, Nepal has achieved another remarkable victory, signaling a new era in football.

Coincidentally, the name of striker, Nawayuga Shrestha, who scored the decisive goal against India, translates to ‘new era’ in English. Not only did he score a pivotal goal in the championship final, but he made history by pulling off a hat-trick of hat-tricks in just one month. He netted one three-goal performance in Bangabandhu and two in the SAG.

Many have seen this victory as sweet revenge against India, which recently tried to throttle the earthquake-devastated Nepal by imposing a five-month-long blockade. The timing of these two victories could not have been more fitting. Only a few months ago, the Nepali football team’s Captain Sagar Thapa and Vice Captain Sadip Rai were arrested on the charge of match-fixing. In the following weeks, their Belgian coach stepped down and Nepali slipped to all-time low in the FIFA ranking. But the Nepali squad, dominated by under-23 players, turned the tide and engineered a magical display of football in the Bangabandhu and the SAG.

As Nepali footballers have proved that they are currently the best in South Asia, it is now time for the government to create an environment in which athletes can concentrate on honing their skills and not have to worry about outside distractions. Like in the political and economic sectors, we need a restructuring in sports as well. This should be the beginning of a glorious journey towards even bigger achievements.

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One Response to “Renaissance in football”

  1. Jivs on Says:

    Boys looked the most fittest team among the south Asian nations. Boys displayed cohesed, imaginitive, better technical footballing skills as well as better footballing philosophy and uncanny fighting instincts. Nepali coaches(missing puzzels set) turned the team into one complete truly Nepali team, which creates an environment naturally releasing vitally needed relevant unity and sense of purpose while playing. Thus continuing winning streak of the team despite different nepali coaches taking turns at the job. I believe foreign coach did truly provide boys with better physical and technical tranning while nepali coach gives unlimited extra boost, support and urgency to the team during international fixtures. I believe foreign coach should be hired for providing boys with better technical training but Nepali coach should lead the team during tournaments. It might sound unfair to foreign coach but he might be more pleased for the team (as then when he leads) as per the current results as well as all stakeholders. This seems to be the new psychological technical understanding we need to develop during international fixtures.

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