By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax, VA
After pondering a while, I was inclined to use the term “disastrous” to sum up Nepal’s Nehru Cup debut. No one disputes the fact that it was another below par performance by Coach Krishna Thapa and his boys.
Nepal concluded the competition with three agonizing defeats and a draw, finishing at the bottom of the table. This does not surprise me one bit. I saw this coming.
Thanks to live streaming internet TV, I was able to watch the spectacle from the confines of my couch. I was so thrilled and excited to see Nepal in action.Sadly, I was left to watch my side go down in flames.
Let me be outright and honest, it was an uninspiring and sluggish performance by Nepal. Like most fans, I had no choice, but to accept my disillusionment and live with it.
Evidently, Nepal’s slump continues unabated, a slump that has seen the team stumble from World Cup qualifiers to Nehru Cup in the last two years.
Team Nepal’s latest debacle has raised pointed questions, and we need to seek answers from a defiant All Nepal Football Association (ANFA).
Speaking of Nehru Cup, the questions that come to my mind are: What really went wrong with Nepal? Why did they play so poorly? Certainly, those who watched the team already know the answers.
ANFA’s wrong decision
The decision by ANFA) to participate in the Nehru Cup was a blunder. They knew the team was not ready for the competition, however, they thought otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong. The importance of an international tournament is immense, even more so, for a country like Nepal. But it has to be done in the right and orderly way. Common sense tells us that preparation for a competition requires proper training and practice.
To me it was inconceivable to push the team into something for which it was not ready for. This reminds me of the quote,”Success is measured by what we have done to prepare for competition”.
ANFA does not care a hoot about players’ humiliation and fans frustration. Nor will they ever admit their mistakes. To be blunt, more than anything else, they are out to advance their own interests and goals.
Without a shred of doubt, the squad for the Nehru Cup was the most ill-prepared for a major competition. Coach Thapa admitted that his team was under prepared for the challenge. With teams like Cameroon and Syria in the mix, Nepal had virtually no chance. A decent preparation could have helped the Nepali outfit fare much better.
Let us remind ourselves that Nepal’s impressive showing at the 2011 SAFF Championship was the result of a good preparation and hard work.
A majority of players were in off season slumber and had to be hastily summoned for the close camp that barely lasted two weeks. To add insult to injury, the team had to play warm-up matches against local outfits.
Physical fitness a question mark
The fitness level of players raised many eyebrows. Their overall physical conditioning left much to be desired, and it was reflected in their performance. The irony here is that nobody seems to care about it. I feel terrible sorry for them.
Home grown coach vs. Foreign coach
Coach Krishna Thapa has been criticized for his leadership, selection of players, ploys and strategies following the Nehru Cup fiasco. He fell well short of the expectation, and he could have done a much better job, despite his difficult circumstances.
No doubt we have to put faith in homegrown coaches and promote them at the same time. That being said, there is, however, need for foreign coaches.
I say this because indigenous coaches are to a great extent dictated by ANFA, and they have a reduced role. They have no direct say in important issues ranging from team selection to preparation.
They are fully aware that challenging ANFA means jeopardizing their career. I don’t blame them. On the other hand, a foreign coach can better serve the needs of the team.
They can be more authoritative, forthright and influential. Most importantly, they can stand up for the team’s interest against the football body. Coach Graham Roberts is an example. There is a clamor for foreign coaches, lately.
Failure to groom players
There has been no serious attempt to bring in new and young talents (especially in the attack) into the national team.
is a senior Sports Journalist based in USA.