Nepali Times Asian Paints
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Swapping crampons for studs


DEWAN RAI


MIN RATNA BAJRACHARYA
Sherpas are known worldwide for their mountaineering skills, but now one of their number, Karma Tsering Sherpa, is carving out a different path to lead his community to the top of the Nepali soccer league.

He set up the Himalayan Sherpa Club as a 'C' Division team of rookies three years ago, and promptly won the division title in the club's first season to gain immediate promotion to the 'B' Division. Here they again won several tournaments, and finished second?a performance which has earned them further promotion to the Martyrs' Memorial 'A' Division for next season.

"Next year the league will be a test for us?but we are optimistic," Karma says. But there is more than just the competition from other soccer teams for the HSC to overcome if they are to top the league.

For the past two years, a squabble between the All Nepal Football Association and the National Sports Council has left the 'A' Division teams without a competition as both bodies tried to run the league.

However, Karma is optimistic that the arguments will be resolved by the start of next season, which would allow the teams to battle it out once more for the top division title. "It doesn't make any difference whether ANFA or the NSC organise the league, but it should be held," he says. "We are depriving players of their right to play."

Karma has been into sports since childhood. He learnt martial arts at school, and while at college established the Kamal Pokhari Sports Club. Now he is vice president of ANFA. He was also involved in student politics as a central committee member of the Nepal Student Union and later a member of Tarun Dal. "I am not active these days but I have not given up yet," he says.

His football club has elected him president for a four-year term, and he hopes in that time to make HSC the best team in Nepal. His aim is also to develop the club's football ground and supporters' network. "We cannot run a club on donations and aid from well-wishers all the time," he says.

Sherpas from across the world support the club, and its success on the pitch has attracted growing numbers of supporters from outside the Sherpa community. The club has provided scholarships for 12 college students and two school pupils at Trungram International Academy.

"Our players are from all ethnicities," Karma says. "It would be better if we could discover a few more Sherpa players." Karma says he set up the club to prove that Sherpas are also good in management: "Though our old identity is not bad, we need to look for new identities."



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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