Manang gets off to a flying start

MMC vs Kailai

Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) got off to a flying start in the National League football defeating Far-Western Football Club 3-0 here at the Dashrath Stadium on Wednesday.

Stephen, Shiva Shrestha and Anil Gurung scored a goal each as MMC earned three points in the match deemed 'home game' for the seven-time A Division League champions. As per the rule, Dashrath Stadium is the home ground for Kathmandu based clubs in the league to be played under 'home and away' format.

MMC took an early fifth minute lead, Leonel Stephen Mbile flicking in a header when Sujal curled in a cross into the area. MMC could have widened their lead in the 32nd minute through a penalty kick, which was awarded after Susan Lama tripped Deepak Rai inside the area. But Far-West custodian Birendra Bahadur Chand comfortable saved the spot kick taken by Sujal Shrestha.

MMC new coach Raju Kaji Shakya, who only met his full squad in the ground just ahead of their kick off said that his team pulled of the victory only due to their experience. "They (Far-Western) played well but we were able to win due to our experience against a relatively young team," said Shakya.

Shakya, who was hired by the club only two days earlier, said his target was to relive the glory days of MMC.

MMC came with more vigour after the break and were duly repaid when Shiva scored through on a rebound in the 49th minute. Leonce Dodoz shot off Bishal Rai corner was parried by Far West custodian Chand and Shiva was in hand to steer home the second goal for MMC.

Skipper Anil Skipper Gurung scored the third goal in the 60th minute, tapping in a cross from Dodoz.

The Far-Western Club, who field the entire Anfa Academy U-17 players barring Susan and Chand, were busy trying to defend MMC rather than creating scoring chances of their own. The victory margin could have been even wider had not for some brilliant saves from goalie Chand.

Despite conceding three goals, Chand was at his best making two excellent saves in the dying moments of the game. He denied Sulav Maskey's close-ranged shot before denying a 25-yard powerful shot from Dodoz in the 85th minute.

Far-Western coach Kiran Shrestha was content with his team's performance despite losing the match. "We put on a good performance. This is a young team and the boys lost their stamina halfway through the game," said the coach. "The boys' gave glimpses of their potentials playing against a tough team like MMC. It is a good sign."

Three Star Club will take on Morang XI in the next match which is scheduled for Sunday.

Jhapa signs 12 players for National League

jhapa lifts cup

Jhapa-XI on Thursday signed 12 players for the National League, which begins on January 21 in home-and-away format. The ANFA Cup champion, competing in the top-flight league for the first time, will sign nine more players in the next two days.

Jhapa´s squad includes mostly experienced players who have played for top-flight clubs in the past, and a majority of them are from the district itself.

According to Jhapa Football Association (JFA) President Jalkumar Gurung, the players have been signed for four months and will each receive a salary of at least Rs 25,000. JFA also announced that it would distribute the earnings made through knockout tournaments during the league.

Bishal Rai A, Devendra Tamang and Dinesh Thapamagar, who won the awards for best striker, best defender and best goalkeeper during Jhapa´s triumph in the ANFA Cup, are former players of Machhindra FC and helped the Kathmandu-based team finish second in the last edition of the Martyrs Memorial League. Dilen Loktan and Karna Limbu are two other key players of Machhindra recruited by Jhapa.

Similarly, Jhapa signed former Three Star Club players Yogesh Gurung and Naren Limbu, Sankata´s Sumin Mainali, Himalayan Sherpa Club´s Dinesh Karki, Manang Marshyangdi Club´s Ganesh Khadka, Prabesh Katuwal, Min Bahadur Basnet and Narendramani Limbu.

Jhapa, which won a cash award of Rs 1 million after winning the ANFA Cup, is hopeful of a similar performance in the National League.

"Our team includes many good players from the district itself. We won the ANFA Cup riding on their performance. We had defeated top clubs then, and we are hopeful of repeating such feats in the National League as well. The closed camp for the tournament will begin this week," said Jhapa coach Bhagirath Ale.

Meanwhile, three capital-based teams have officially registered players for the league. Martyrs Memorila League champion MMC has registered 18 players, including African players Leonce Zikhai Dodoz and Leonel Stephen Mbile. Nepal Police Club and Nepal Army Club have registered 21 and 19 players, respectively.

Army, Police, MMC register players for Nat’l League

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A division outfits Manang Marshyangdi Club, Nepal Police Club and Nepal Army Club on Wednesday registered their players at the ANFA office for the upcoming National League scheduled to be held from January 21 (Magh 7).

The players' registration for the league officially opened on Poush 21 and will end on Poush 27. The participating teams will have to register at least 18 players, including two goalkeepers, in the given time.

Police: 1. Suman Subedi (DF), 2. Ritesh Thapa ( GK), 3. Dinesh Gurung (unmentioned), 4. Roshan Khadka (GK), 5. Bharat Shah (FWD), 6. Nir Kumar Rai (MFD), 7. Ajit Bhandary (DF), 8. Bikram Dhimal (DF), 9.Bhola Nath Silwal (MF), 10. Hari Kathayat (FWD), 11. Dipendra Shrestha (MFD), 12. Bishal Shrestha (GK), 13. Rishi Pithakoti Thapa Magar (MFD), 14. Yogesh Shrestha (MF), 15. Suraj Bishwakarma (DF), 16. Arbin Chahar (DF), 17. Man Bahadur Praiyar (DF), 18. Rabin Shrestha (DF), 19. Dil Bahadur Tamang (DF), 20. Jumanu Rai (FWD), 21. Hem Tamang (MF).

Army: 1. Phool Bahadur Lama (GK), 2. Phurba Tamang (FWD), 3. Hiranya Bahadur Lumre (DF), 4.Deepak Gurung (DF), 5. Bal Krishna Shrestha (MF), 6. Birednra Bahadur Chand (GK), 7. Sudip Raj Shrestha (MF), 8. Rajib Gurung (FWD), 9.Nawayug Shrestha (FWD), 10. Youdha Shahi (DF), 11. Amrit Basnet (FWD), 12. Sushil Shreebastab (GK), 13. Raju Tamang (MF), 14. Bijay Maharjan (DF), 15. Padma K Tamang (MF), 16. Yam Bahadur Khadka (DF), 17. Dip Kumar Lama (FWD), 18. Santosh Nepali (MF), 19.Tek Bahadur Budhathoki (MF).

MMC: 1. Anil Gurung (FW), 2. Bikram Limbu (DF), 3. Sulav Maskey (FWD), 4. Bishal Shrestha (GK), 5. Nirajan Malla (FWD), 6. Krishna Kumar (DF), 7. Sushil KC (MF), 8.Nabin Maharjan (GK), 9. Leonce Zikhai Dodoz (FWD), 10. Ram Krishna Basnet (DF), 11. Hem Kumar Gurung (DF), 12. Sujal Shrestha (MF), 13.Deepak Rai (FWD), 14. Biraj Maharjan (DF), 15. Shiva Shrestha (MF), 16. Rupesh KC (MF), 17. Bishal Rai (MF), 18. Leonel Stephen Mbile (DF).

Nine teams file entries for Nat'l League

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A total of nine teams have filed their entries for the national league scheduled to kick off on Magh 7 (Jan. 21).

The teams are: Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Nepal Armed Police Force, Three Star, Manang, Jhapa, Morang, Rupandehi and Kailali.

ANFA will decide on the participation of the district teams only after assuring if the districts have met the criteria set by the ANFA in its last inspection in the districts.

" We had set certain criteria on ground conditions, media tribunal and changing room during our last inspection. We will recheck if they have followed the directives before confirming their participation," said CEO Indra Man Tuladhar.

The final decision of their participation will be taken on Poush 29.

ANFA team had inspected venues and facilities in five places, including, Makwanpur, Butwal, Biratnagar, Jhapa and Kailali.

Of the five places, the venue and facilities in Makwanpur failed to meet the criteria set by ANFA, while the other venues required maintenances in ground, changing rooms and media tribunals.

ANFA completed inspection of possible venues of National League

dhanghadi stadium inspection

The All Nepal Football Association officials and match commissioners on Friday completed their inspection of venues and facilities at various districts for the national league, drawing a satisfactory report in almost all the places.

The officials and match commissioners have concluded that venues and facilities meet ANFA's criteria, but require minor maintenances in areas such changing rooms and media tribune, to which the district football associations have assured completion by the time the league starts on Magh 7. (Jan 21).

ANFA's team inspected five different place outside the valley, including, Butwal, Makwanpur, Jhapa, Biratnagar and Kanchanpur. Of the five places, Makwanpur's Guaritar needs an extra bit of effort to meet the criteria.

The pitch condition at ANFA Technical Center in Butwal needs to be improved, while facilities like changing room and media tribune needs to be maintained.

The Mechi Stadium (Chandragadi) in Jhapa, Domalal football ground in Birtamod and Birtangar Stadium all lacked the same facilities like in Butwal.

As for Kanchpur, the regional stadium in Dhangadi, the only draw-back is the condition of the ground.

"Hotel facilities easily meet the standards set by the ANFA and availability is not a problem", said ANFA General Secretary Dhirendra Pradhan, adding that it is up to the club to choose (standard) where they want to accommodate their players.