Nepal’s comeback story was short lived as they crashed out of the South Asian Football Federation Championship in Bangladesh.
Contrary to expectations,Nepal paid dearly for sloppy play,defensive lapses,failure to convert scoring chances and complacency in the 0-3 defeat to Maldives.
For the umpteenth time Maldives dashed Nepal’s hopes of winning South Asia’s biggest trophy.As a result, the long championship drought drags on.
Football fans across the country are starting to get frustrated and dejected with Team Nepal’s below average performance.
After having performed well against Bhutan and Bangladesh, all seemed hunky dory for Nepal. The overwhelming impression we gathered was that Coach Bal Gopal Maharjan boys had a great chance to write history.
Unfortunately, it did not materialize as Nepal stumbled badly, unable to rise to the occasion and wasting a big chance to shine.
The setback can be attributed to a combination of inept defense,ineffective attack line and poor midfield play.
When all is said and done,it was an all too familiar storyline. A story of under-performance and failure to deliver results.
Evidently,players were physically wanting. They seemed exasperated and worn out as they struggled to keep pace with the opponent.
Maldives got off to a great start with an early goal through a free kick conversion.They stubbornly hung on to the lead and thrawated them from restoring parity.
Nepal did possess the ball for a extended period of time but completely failed to use to their advantage.They were far from effective when it came to threatening the opposition’s goal
On the other hand, the Maldivians successfully resorted to a tight defensive tactic throughout.They defended doggedly, frustrating and keeping the opposition at bay.
They were aggressive at times and relied on counter attacks They put in a much improved performance and controlled the rhythm of the game.
They cashed in on Nepal’s defensive errors, and to compound matters,they added two more goals at the fag end of the game.
To put it bluntly, Nepal paid the price for playing poorly. There is absolutely no excuse for that.
Taking into account Nepal’s dismal performance in the Asian Games and South Asian Football Federation Championship, it is obvious that football is heading in the wrong direction.
All Nepal Football Association(ANFA) cannot sit around doing nothing and watch the national team’s performance go from bad to worse.
Everyone agrees that this is a team in decline. As a matter of fact, this is a direct result of a broken system that needs to be fixed.
ANFA President Karma Tsering Sherpa and his team must address the problems besetting Nepal football.
There is no denying the fact that the system is not working, and it is high time for ANFA to take necessary measures and work honestly to fix the problems.
Time has come to rebuild the national team, and we need to bring in fresh blood. There are more than a handful of players who have reached the saturated point and needs to be replaced.
Preparing and training the national team for international tournaments should be of the highest quality and timely. Also players must be given adequate international exposure.
ANFA must get to serious work, and they should not forget that actions speak louder than words.
Thapa is a senior journalist based in USA.
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