By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax, VA
Another tournament and another debacle for Team Nepal. The inept performance of Nepal in the recently concluded AFC under-22 football championship in Kathmandu was a case of an endeavor that met with abject failure.
The host rounded up the competition with a solitary win and three consecutive defeats. Indeed for supporters like me it was agonizing, painful and frustrating to see the team bit the dust.
There is no excuse for the poor and deflating showing. I am sad to admit that it was a listless and toothless performance, all in all. Coach Krishna Thapa and his boys squandered the chance to make some real headway into the championship, but it was wasted and lost.
Despite the presence of a significant number of current national players, the team played unimpressive and average football. Eventually, they ended the competition with a whimper, not a bang.
Hopes were high prior to the tournament, but at the end of the day they left everyone sorely disappointed and dejected.
The participating teams were evenly matched in every aspect of the game. On paper Jordan and Uzbekistan had the clear favorite tag, but they were beatable. Nepal had a realistic chance to win the tournament.
Although the host got off to a winning start against Bangladesh, however, they were unable to keep the momentum going and eventually dug themselves into holes that they could not get out of.
While Jordan outplayed us comprehensibly, we have only ourselves to blame for the defeat to Yemen and Uzbekistan.
Coach Thapa had no choice but to lead a pack that was well short of proper training and preparation. His request for quality warm up matches fell on deaf ears, which I expected.
It takes a lot more than hard work to yield definitive results. Foremost players did not have the right mindset and the belief to succeed. To make matters worse, coaches failed to devise a game plan and strategies to tackle opponents differently.
More than coaches and players, All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) as always was/ is
largely responsible for the latest setback and the state of Nepali football that is in shambles.
Any sport enthusiast will admit Nepali football woes continue unabated, be it on or off the pitch. Our football aspiration has been dealt a devastating blow by the latest disappointment. True, our footballers have not been able to put their act together.
That being said, players have bravely withstood years of stressful challenges, and they have kept on playing for the country and to make a career of football.
Yet once again, I cannot help but criticize the football body for their passivity and nonperformance. As a result today they have pushed the most popular sport to nowhere.
Ganesh Thapa led football body wields so much power and influences that nobody has the guts to oppose them. In the last seventeen years they have mastered the art of deceit, dishonesty and pretense.
Clearly, they have lacked vision, wisdom, accountability, commitment, professionalism, and transparency necessary to uplift and redefine Nepali football with new ideas and new hopes.
They should have been seriously focused on ways to carry out sustainable long-term development of football, but instead it seems their top priority is to organize international tournaments, one after another.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We must organize tournaments, but at the same time the fundamental of football development must be carried out with the same kind of passion, commitment and pace.
Go and see for yourself the state of football across the country. And you will know the truth, and why ANFA irks me so much.
Be not deceived; there is plenty of money in ANFA that comes from sponsors, FIFA and other sources. The matter of fact is that they could have done so much more by now.
Let us remind ourselves that Thapa was accused of misappropriation of fund long time back. God only knows what goes behind the closed doors.
In recent years there has been a lot of talk of corporate houses and clubs’ vital role in the development of football. Given the unconducive environment, why would business houses in particular want to waste their investment?
Do you; honestly and truthfully, still believe ANFA can turn things around. I would be a fool if I say yes
. There are solutions, but the football body doesn’t seem interested to walk the path to progress.
What more can I say. You be the judge yourself.
is a senior sports Journalist based in USA.