Indian Super league and Nepalese Football

ram gurung

Ram Gurung
Football Analyst

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Prologue
Nepalese Cricket team has won the World Cricket League Division three recently. They have achieved what is one of the pinnacles of Nepalese sports as a whole.

But even with the title, the players expressed their dissatisfaction towards the governing body. Next season, it will be the first time Nepal Cricket team will play in World Cricket League Division Two.

While cricket is Nepal is flourishing, progress of football is heading the opposite direction.

Why Indian Super league?
Rather than AIFF (All Indian Football Federation), the rich and famous in India came forward for a common goal of taking India to the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

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The rich and famous have bought all the big names from European football. Most players have dreamt only to play with or against these superstars. Both media and fans alike have supported this dream.
The media has now turned the unsung heroes into superstars of Indian football.

If the tournament would continue till the dawn of 2026 World Cup, it is conceivable that India could prepare its best eleven that could take on any challenge.

But just across the northern border it is not the case.

Nepalese football is like a monsoon
Nepalese football comes alive once a year and then goes for a long rest. The A Division League has finished on March and it seems like it has been many years since that spell.

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If we look at many league structures, the players rarely have a break it is because once a fitness or form is lost, a total value of the player is lost. Everything is not only physics but also chemistry.

Nepalese players does not have continual play throughout the year thus it is certain that players lose their shape, form and fitness during this gap period.

A player is meant to have rest only after they have retired but it is not the case in Nepal.

No professionalism, no amateur football?
There is no distinct structure in the Nepalese football scene. To survive, the players have to rely on regional competitions like Gold Cup all across the country. Even with the Gold Cup, the players represent more than two teams within a year.

Everyone knows that every player or team develops by understanding teammates and manager's strategy and tactics. But if you are playing with different players, for different teams and under different managers you cannot quite yield the result.

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For example, you sign a contract with a team and then you go to play Gold Cup in some part of country. You train with new players, coach and different strategy. If you are lucky you are picked up in starting eleven. You travel on a bus with a public to the location where you play.

And if you lose on the first match on a Gold Cup, you go home with nothing. You have trained with new players under new management and you are out of the competition after the first match. Then you wait if there will be another Gold Cup. Unfortunately this is the case in Nepal. And this is killing the clubs, players and football altogether.

And we fans expect the best out the national team while there is not a process where players can become the world challengers.

India plans for 2026 World Cup Entry, what about Nepal?

We cannot compare with India economically, financially as well as market growth. It would be impractical as we are mainly the consumers of India. But when it comes to football we are not that far behind in terms of FIFA Rankings. India is ranked 159 while Nepal is 179.

If we compare last four matches, Nepal has lost all without scoring and conceding 10 in a process. India was unbeaten in last three, won one and scored seven goals in last four matches. This infers that Indian team are relatively strong than Nepalese football team.

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Indian rich and famous came together to rescue their football team but for Nepalese it must be like a fairy tale.
We have to admit now that Nepalese team and the governing bodies are complacent and don't have any long-running plans for the future. It seems like Nepal is looking forward only to participate as a formality.

But Nepal U17 looks good
Unanimously Nepal U17 is a team we all are proud and possibly can yield results. But reality is different. Nepal U17 is built around the players from ANFA. The players grew together playing and understands each other. They don't have a responsibility of communicating with other players and other teams. And ANFA has to release the players once other clubs signs them. It is no doubt ANFA would develop players but for international stage ANFA is not enough. You cannot rely on a single academy to challenge the best in the world.

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Another reality is once a club signs a player from ANFA, he would have to follow the footsteps of the same pattern if not changed. He has to play League for few months and then have to wait for different Gold Cups to be organised. He has to play for different clubs if his own club does not participate in Gold Cups, which have limited entries of clubs. Thus it is reasonable that the outstanding players of Nepal U17 might lose its shape, skill and fitness after ANFA releases it.

Conclusion
It would be unrealistic for us to copy the format of competitions in the other countries. We have to play by our own potential and resources. The challenge is not to produce best players but to conserve them. And conservation comes only when the organisers understand the business model that works for Nepal.

At the moment, the tournaments are held only as an obligation and there is no maturity in it. Otherwise it is highly probable that our target would always be the SAFF Championships and not beyond.

Nepalese National Team: What went wrong?

ram gurung

Ram Gurung
Football Analyst

nepal u23 v japan u23

Prologue

Nepal national team participated in two major tournament in last five weeks in different age groups. Nepal U16 team took part in AFC U17 tournament while Nepal U23 took part in Asian Games.

As predicted U23 team returned neither with a point, goal nor a clean sheet while Nepal U17 demonstrated we can expect more from them in the future. But at the same time uncertainty and turmoil in domestic football as well as dismal performance of national team alongside the high performing cricketers of Nepal means young Nepalese are more bound to incline towards the bat and ball.

Healthy roots leads to healthy fruits
Every national team's success is measured in terms of its domestic format of growing players. For example Spain won the World Cup due to its best domestic league format similarly new champions Germany. Liga BBVA and Bundesliga are its examples while Argentine Primera Division and Campeonato Brasileiro are responsible for growing players like Di Maria and Neymar respectively.

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If we come back to our domestic scene, everything seems out of pace and out of place.
After many months, we finally got domestic competition in which only eight teams participated. Not only that but two teams were out of the A Division. And ironically Jhapa XI won the title 4-0 on a final. If you were watching the final match, you could see it was so poor that even watching that match for free was a suffering. ANFA has upgraded the stadium slightly but we do not go to seat comfortably at the stadium but to watch a competitive fixture. Both Sankata and Jhapa XI ran out of steam after 60th minutes. Jhapa XI could have score at least 8 times past Sankata who were 10 men after first half. Hate to say it but Nepalese players cannot play effectively past an hour. It was lacklustre performance from both sides. So who to blame?

Lack of Organised sports

Nepalese sports is following the footsteps of politics of very unfortunate country. The players are just playing to participate and there has not being seen any competitive nature. ANFA is responsible for organising the domestic competitions in the country but it has been unable to deliver it. Last month it organised ANFA cup but it was not as successful only highlighted by big prize money.

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Owing to the lack of organised sports, there aren't enough sponsorship in the tournament and clubs are suffering due to it. Football clubs survive mostly from match day ticket sales, advertisings and merchandising.

Nepalese football is still light year away from club merchandising so they are dependent on only the ticket sales and advertising. But inconsistent schedule and only few months of football a year means sponsors are not convinced to invest on the club. Similarly, clubs cannot pay well to the players. And in this unpredictable and high-risk sport where there is no security, many players have emigrated abroad for work. Due to this, the quality of the domestic football has become less competitive and unproductive. Which is now been reflected on the international matches.

Overrated Players?

Football like many sports, fans adhere the players. Fans like to celebrate the players. Many fans follow the teams just because a specific player is playing for that team. Nepalese fans are no different. Nepalese players are known to score many goals in the domestic league but when they feature in National kits, they become silent.

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This has led to criticism against many players in the national team. Even in many occasions in South Asian football, defenders have come on to the rescue of the team. But this time around in Incheon, the whole team failed and conceded 13 goals in 3 matches. While Nepal U17 also conceded six goals but they replied four in answer. This means future looks hopeful still both teams failed to maintain a clean sheet, which is of a concern.

Even Nepal U17's win and draw came from a penalties and this is way of playing dangerously.

Why domestic format is important?
After failings of both sides it would be unrealistic to think. of Nepal playing at the World Cup very soon let alone be the Asian Cup. But it gave the realisation that we got bright young players whom could grow into a strong senior side if given great care and right environment which would be an organised competitive domestic format.

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The current format has failed the U23 team and failed the whole Nepalese football fans. Without it, there would not be enough fans at the stadium and unfortunately Nepalese fans have to turn to cricket where national team is performing brilliantly.

Stars of tomorrow
There is no scepticism that Nepal U17 players are the stars of tomorrow. Soon different clubs both domestic and abroad would sign them. Few players are already playing or on trial at ASEAN and Europe. But a team is formed of 23 players not few players. To build a team, the Olympic committee and ANFA have to create an environment from where players can guarantee their livelihood as well as the clubs who can them bring in international players to level up the domestic football.

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Otherwise, the U17 players might repeat the same result as the U23 side of now when they reach then.

2014 Asian Games: Nepal U23- Certain Death in Group of Death?

ram gurung

Ram Gurung
Football Analyst

 

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Prologue:

Korea Republic is going to host the 17th edition of Asian Games in Incheon in which football will be played from September 14 to October 3, 2014. Although the games shall provide platform for players from vast array of disciplines, Nepal U23 team would look ahead to play football at these games.

Asian games is not considered as valuable as the continent's greatest competition for football but at the same time provides the platform for the tomorrow's senior side. Japan, Iraq, Iran and Korea U23 have all developed their skill to challenge the World's best.

Nepal U23 shall have opportunity to test their skill against the likes of Japan, Iraq and Kuwait at this event.

Herculean task!
Nepal has been seeded in Group D alongside the powerhouses Japan, Iraq and Kuwait. Nepal is the only side in this group which has never been past the group stage. Meanwhile all other three nations have been to the podium.
Japan has won a gold (2010) and silver medal (2002) on football at these games, while Kuwait has won silver twice (1998, 1982) and Iraq has won gold once (1982). This clearly demonstrates that Group D is 'Group of Death' at least for Nepal U23 team. Unless Nepal can repeat the likes of Costa Rica at last World Cup which is highly implausible.

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Nepal will play Iraq first, then Kuwait and finally Japan on September 14, 17 and 21 respectively.

Nepal U23 outside the SAFF
Being Asia as the growing footballing continent, the nations from one corner to next rarely meets. The Middle East has their own Federation while there are likes of ASEAN and SAFF. We all know the performance of the national team and have to accept the fact that we still have to wait for cream of excellence at the higher level.
Perhaps current U-16 side can prove us wrong and make us jubilant with surprise in the future but we still have to wait and watch. The current challenge is the Asian Games at Incheon, Korea Republic.

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Nepal U23 has only won a single match encounter against any nation outside the SAFF. It came against Jordan in 2012 when they defeated them 3-0 at //stadium and location//. Even the performance against the SAFF nations is also less inspiring. Nepal has rarely salvaged a point with a draw or the match has ended in a defeat. This campaign looks bleak on and off the papers for the U23 side.

Preparations to Asian Games 2014
Surprisingly Nepalese U23 has not played any competitive matches since June 2012. The last win came against Jordan at Dasarath Rangasala Stadium during the AFC U22 Championship Qualifiers. The dire competitive experience of the Nepal U23 means that the trip to Incheon is just going to be a formality.

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Nepal U23 has played training matches against clubs in Nepal and Bangladesh. This is not so up to the standard that requires Nepal to prepare for the competition. Even with these non-competitive matches, Nepal was able to salvage a win against African United Club while drew all other games in Nepal. Nepal also lost their game to Bangladesh U23, 1-0.

Comparing preparations of Nepal U16, it seems ANFA does not seem interested to prepare Nepal U23 for Asian Games at Incheon.

Learning Curve
There are highs and falls in all fields and that involves football teams as well. But what only continuous is a learning curve. We all know that in any competition, the games are not only decided by skill and energy but also by chances, created opportunities as well as split second decisions. Only one team can stand on the gold medalist podium but all teams return with the vital learning experience to move forward to reach that maturity.

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Asian Games 2014 shall be that learning curve for all participating nations including Nepal U23. The chances of Nepal to play against the likes of these nations is rare. The national team has to take full advantage during the tournament as almost all our players don't have experience of playing at Professional level.

Game-Plan
There is no conclusion in real life yet to compare the football team and cricket team would be nightmarish for the Nepalese fans. Nepal U23 has to understand its weaknesses and strength. Nepal has to work on counter attacks and set pieces rather than possession play.

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I believe that Nepalese football still has to reach that maturity where possession play can lead to some result. Nepal must sit back and hit on counter.
I believe Nepal has to adapt 5-3-1-1 formation which can adapt into 3-4-3 during the counter attacks which means we would require a high fledged wingers who can both defend and attack. It would be very difficult to manoeuvre this at the games but if we can replicate at rare breaks, we can put pressure on the opposition.

What we can expect?
Football is full of surprises but to salvage a win would be impossible demand at these games. We have to be pragmatic and hope that the national team would concede fewer goals and at least a clean sheet would be great. But we know the firepower of the Japan, Iraq and Kuwait.

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We can expect fewer touches from the striker while it would be high pressure on our defender. We surely require man of the match performance from the outfield player who shall sit between the sticks.

Blame Game!
We know Nepalese football is growing, we are participating more international competitions than ever before. But the players has to overcome their lack of domestic experiences as the national league has been halted and has to rely on occasional regional domestic competitions. And we all know it is not enough for players to be fully fit. Only training without real matches leads no results.

'Fail to Prepare is Prepare to Fail!'

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At the end of the tournament, we as Nepalese football fans- I request all let us not criticise the players if the results did not came our way. And at the same time players should not escape the criticism and blame ANFA for not able to facilitate the National League. We all have to understand the scenario and move ahead together.

Moving ahead
Nepal U23 has to take this games as a stepping stone rather than the destination. For all participating players it would be an honour to represent the nation. It will provide them platform to display what they can do in front of the World and most importantly move the progress made by ANFA ahead.

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All the best for the Nepal U23 team as well as other players participating and representing Nepal at the 2014 Asian Games.

Nepal U17: Dawn of Nepalese International football?

ram gurung

Ram Gurung
Football Analyst

nepal u17

 

Prologue
Nepalese U17 team has earned and deserved many praise from the football fans, public as well as from the press. Nepal has produced many national level stars in the past but have rarely made an impact on the International level.

Nepal Police striker Hari Khadka, World Cup Qualifier hat trick hero Nirajan Rayamajhi, Basanta Gauchan, Raju Shakya and many other national stars have tried to shine for the Nepal national team in international level but haven't been able to continue the light of their twilight.

Current generation have many prolific players in the defence line but Nepal has still to find a natural goal scorer in a team where international stage is concerned.
The jinx of not having Nepalese striker seems to be broken as we have now found a 16 year old skipper in the team, Bimal Gharti Magar. He has already scored 6 goals in 5 caps for the country.

Goalfeast, 41 goals in 17 matches
Nepal U17 team has already won 10 games out of last 18 games both official and unofficial, both against U17 and senior sides and lost just 5 games. They have scored staggering 41 goals in 18 matches since last July and conceded just 15 goals. The U17 has lost only four matches from which four were against the senior sides.

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Nepal U17 played against the Nepal Senior side at Satdobato ANFA complex in an unofficial training match which the seniors won by a single goal margin. This showed that this U17 team is going to be big in the future.

Nectar of ANFA
All the current players are from ANFA Academy and they know each other head to toe. This must be the best youth batch ever produced by ANFA. Bal Gopal Maharjan has used his experience while playing for Nepal National team to the stars of tomorrow. The greatest product is Bimal Gharti Magar, who is now playing for RSC Anderlecht junior team in Belgium. He has also already scored while playing from Nepal senior team.

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Nepal has only two players in the national side who has international club experience. Another is defender Rohit Chand, who plays for Indonesian club Persija Jakarta.

Moving forward
Nepal U17 is currently playing in South Korea under the preparation for 2014 AFC U-17 Championship to be held in Thailand. The greatest challenge will be tomorrow when Nepal U17 will face the Korean U17 side.

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This will be the greatest test for the Nepal U-17 side. Nepal has two more trips after the Korean test, they will visit to meet Qatar at Doha and play against RSC Anderlecht in Belgium on midst of August.

South Korea, Qatar then Anderlecht

These matches are important to test the skill of the ANFA's development in the grassroots level but not essential to win.

Nepalese players will have a chance to indulge themselves against the players from best facilities and training technologies from the world. In football, scoring goals and winning is important but Nepal U16 must be cautious to be disciplined in both defence and attack. 2014 AFC U-17 Championship should be Nepal's priority and not the practice matches. Bal Gopal Maharjan should instruct the players to build up on chemistry and discipline.

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Every scored goal and clean sheets are going to boost the morale of the team ahead of the competition. But every conceded goals and injuries could demoralise and destabilise the team. The exhibition teams are better than the ones in the group stage Nepal has to play. So the head coach has to make sure all players be fit and healthy both physically and mentally before they meet defending champions Uzbekistan on first group match, 7th of September 2014 at Bangkok, Thailand.

New Beginnings, forgettable past

During the sixteen editions of the 2014 AFC U-17 Championship, Nepal has been able to qualify only three times in the championship. The last time was in Vietnam (2000) and Singapore (2006). The Nepalese team played 8 games in both competitions but have been able to score only 2 goals. Nepal scored a single point when they drew goalless against the hosts Singapore in 2006.

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Nepal has conceded 17 goals in Vietnam and 8 goals in Singapore. Nepal has lost seven of eight encounters in the tournament and have been both times exited from the group stage.

The dream: FIFA World Cup U17
Three AFC U17 Championship editions and eight years later, ANFA has produced good quality players that can match at their own levels as well as in senior level. Although there are all good players in the team but the main responsibility will be on Bimal Gharti Magar. If Nepal U17 can finish within top four i.e. if they can at least reach the semi-finals of the AFC U-17 tournament, they will automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup U17.

bimal gharti magar young prodigy

This will be the closest the Nepalese fans would come to support their own nation in the World Cup at this moment who were supporting Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Holland and so on during the World Cup 2014.

Nepal U17 will start their campaign of AFC U-17 tournament against defending champions Uzbekistan (7th Sept, 2014), Kuwait (9th Sept, 2014) and North Korea (11th Sept 2014).

Best of luck to Nepal U17 team for their exhibition matches and AFC U-16 Championship.

Two Decade Was Enough Chance To Perform for ANFA Boss

shabda

Shabda Shrestha
Football Anallyst

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Everywhere there is question why Nepalese football could not improve till date, despite huge support of Nepalese fans and media. We were always blaming players for bad result but never realized how rough time they were going through. Recent article by one of the football expert Biplav Gautam clearly illustrated problem faced by everyone, as well as from individual player to clubs.

Everyone thought Ganesh Thapa was doing great but what's the tool of measurement? If results are the tools to measure the success than we have completely fail in last two decade. The recent report on the Sunday times, it clearly says that the huge transaction of $1,15,000 received from Hammam by Mr Thapa , which has already been agreed by him and he was expected to receive $800000 too, which has no further detail.

We can clearly see, he was fooling around every Nepalese fan .He was pretending to be the developer of the football but he was just using ANFA to earn the money. The interesting fact is that if he had received the money for business purpose than he would have surely talked about it in press conference, the press meets which was organized by Mr Thapa after he came back from Brazil.
The height of cunningness is the example of Ganesh Thapa, when every his corruptions were exposed to the people he always send national team to play friendly matches in international to divert the attention , this time he is sending U-16 and national team to play in Europe and Indonesia.

Recently former coach and national player Krishna Thapa has announced his decision to resign as ANFA technical director. He said there was no moral ground of working with Mr. Ganesh Thapa who was running his own private business under ANFA.
Ganesh Thapa was running private organization, which sound more authentic when Krishna Thapa said in the press conference that he has been working as ANFA technical director without any contract paper and just 80$ for a month which was suppose to be $1500.These are the few example of loop holes where ANFA president financially plays and earns for his never seen private business, which he promise to tell the press when time comes.

Even scientifically, 2 decade of single leader will have nothing give to the organization, its long time, which is the reason Nepalese football is no where now. We don't have one fix calendar, it's like the roster of highly casual worker and we are always blaming clubs and players.

There are still lots of people who think no one can run ANFA like Ganesh Thapa, But there is famous saying, even if king dies thrown are never empty. Furthermore, good leader give birth to another good leader but he never try making another leader rather he was just made follower and earning money for himself. It's even good time for Mr Thapa to resign and gain some respect from the entire football fan.

All well wisher of Nepalese football,Two decade is enough chance  for any individual to perform and  we should not forget the report published by the Sunday time is not the article written using Google search .It's the fact, so even now if we don't open our eye, we need to wait more 100 years just to win SAFF.