Nepal should not have participated in Nehru Cup 2012

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Sushil Thapa is an ardent follower of Nepali football. He is based in Fairfax, VA, USA. His articles on Nepali football team during SAFF Cup 2011 made huge impact among readers and were highly appreciated.

Nepal’s last moment entry in Nehru Cup, 2012

Nepal makes its maiden appearance in the 15th edition of the Nehru Cup football championship in New Delhi, India, starting from 23rd August at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The other four teams in the tournament are India, Maldives, Syria and Cameroon. The competition will be played in a round-robin league, with each team playing against one another, and the winners and runners-up of the group will contest in the final.

For most teams, to be part of a tournament of Nehru Cup’s stature is a matter of pride. That is even truer for a struggling team like Nepal, lacking adequate international exposure and opportunities. However, had Kenya (first choice) or teams like Jordon or Philippines had confirmed their participation, Nepal would not have been in the mix.

I was taken aback that All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) accepted the last minute invitation at such short notice. ANFA should have thought twice before deciding to participate in the tournament. I fully understand that this tournament means so much to our players, and each competition is a learning experience for them. However, having said that, if we solely compete for the sake of participation, that makes no sense at all to me. At the very least, our objective should be to make sense of things. To achieve this, it is important to prepare the team appropriately for the challenge. Regrettably, that does not seem to be the case, and that is my biggest concern. Regardless of how enticing the  invitation might be, when you know that your team is under-prepared and not up for the challenge then what is the rationale behind the decision to participate in the tournament? The team is up against formidable opponents in the likes of Syria, Cameroon and host India, but they fall well short of the mark when it comes to the level of preparedness.

Lack of preparations

ANFA’s decision to participate in the tournament took both the coaching staff and players by complete surprise.  The competition comes at a time when a large majority of players are beginning to come out of their off season slumber. Under the circumstances, apparently, it has been quite a struggle for head coach Krishna Thapa to put together a team and train them. The ongoing training is a big joke, and I am wondering what does this  means for the team!

A good quality preparation is a must and it does make a world of difference when it comes to the team’s overall performance at the end of the day. Nepal’s preparation for the 2011 SAFF Championship held in New Delhi was the best ever I can recall over a decade. It was made possible by Graham Roberts who was then head coach of the national football team of Nepal. I doubt we will ever again see that kind of preparation for a major tournament under home grown coaches who are totally dictated by the football body.

Team Composition

The team  must  perform at their very best to make some kind of impact in the championship. And even more importantly, they have to get off  to a good start because it sets the tone for the competition. They need to come out firing on all cylinders and take care of business in the opener against Maldives. Otherwise, they will have a tough time containing India, Syria and Cameroon.

The selectors have named a twenty-one player squad for the Nehru Cup. The core of the team is almost unchanged from the 2011 SAFF Championship. Bikesh Kuthu and Rupesh KC have worked their way into the national squad for the first time. One prominent name missing  from the team is energetic Robin Shrestha who is recovering from injury. The attack line comprising Jumuanu, Santosh and Anil is Team Nepal’s weakest link. Lately the trio has struggled to score goals, and unless they rediscover  their scoring  touch at the right time, it will hurt the team in the predictable manner. Undeniably, it is a youthful and talented outfit with plenty of experiences, but   they are up against a big challenge, and I am afraid that the odds are heavily against them. Candidly speaking, my expectations are not high. There is quality depth at the midfield and defense,  however, they have to perform exceptionally well to stand a chance of survival.

There is no end in sight to Nepal’s dismal run in international tournaments. It’s almost impossible to believe that in the last 18 years the national team has  failed to achieve anything noteworthy as of yet. I can only hope that Team Nepal gives their best effort and are able to leave a lasting impression.

The Squad

Goalkeeper

Kiran Chemzon, Ritesh Thapa, Bikesh Kuthu

Defense

Sagar Thapa, Sandip Rai, Rohit Chand, Biraj Maharjan, Sabindra Shresta, Bikash Singh Chhetri.

Midfield

Raju Tamang, Nirajan Khadka, Bhola Silwal, Rupesh KC, Jagjeet Shrestha, Bijaya Gurung and Anil Ojha.

Forward

Jumuanu Rai, Santosh Sahukhala, Anil Gurung, Bharat Khawas, Sujal Shrestha.

Head Coach – Krishna Thapa.

Assistant  Coach –  Hari Khadka.

Goalkeeping Coach – Upendra Man Singh

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24 COMMENTS

  1. I seriously don't understand what my Nepali friends say here and as far as this blog is concerned yes its a good thing to play because we should give other teams some chance this is the way to improve indian football.

  2. jst check out the fifa world rank ..atleast we r 6 step ahead then india…so its sure we can keep them on underpressure…the gorkhalis have always good history in all over the world.. we can beat…we can beat ny how and any cost….jay gorakhnath

  3. football is decided only in the play field in 90 minutes and predictions almost never reach the truth. regarding achievement, its big thing for nepalese team to compete to the team of more than 2 billion populated country.and all south indian team are just like mark able stain in the football history.

  4. all the best for the Nepali Team…
    Nepal is good team, will learn during the league games specially with the INDIAN TEAM.

    i’m coming on 28th with THE INDIAN FLAG in the stadium…
    jeetega bhai jeetega INDIA hin jeetega!!

  5. Well laid article. Sushil has clearly picturised about the current situation of the Nepali football and lack of preparedness and lack of strong governing body to take a solid decision when it is required. I would definitely tell that the other teams apart from Maldives are a tougher team to beat and may be so with Maldives as well if Nepal do not play to it’s full potential. The lack of Nepali Strikers to net the ball has been the weak part as nine of then have a good record when playing apart from club football..So the main part to be played will be netting the ball that too early if Nepal wants to be in the game.Defense and midfield have been good I believe as there are good players to deal with.So as a whole, a very good luck for Nepal and hoping for a tough competition ahead.Jai Nepal…!!!

  6. its good for nepal to participate in the nehru cup.nepal will do their level best.hard working and constinant training is lacking in the team.when with a foreign coach team plays better with a teamwork but with home coach the they struggle in every field.i hope nepali team will give a good games in the tournament.

  7. WEll..at this stage.. we can only hope that Nepali football team will deliver a good game that will surprise rest of the team members.. well..let's face it people..Give the best and leave out all the rest to the God…

  8. nepali players having off season. After long gap they are going to perform but lets hope they will give big show and make win over at least south asian teams. Winning will be dream come true..

  9. It is good for any team to have more and more national and international tournament throughout. While this bring & keep the footballers in their good shape, they can be ready for any eleventh hour call. This is not happening in our country and above all most importantly the government does not have any sustainable program and plan for our players.

  10. you better shut your damn mouth..team Nepal is a far better squad than that of india..you don’t dare to utter something like this “india a tough team for nepal to deal with”…if you are remembering of india winning saff 11.hahaha..every body had seen what was most deserving team for that championship..and what the hell r u talking about international exposure?? haha a national team playing with a club hahaha …no need of such international exposure where you face 4 goals..only one thing players might have learnt is to face more and more goals…..more over we’ve seen the team india’s level of game-international exposure hahahaha….you indian’s r still a baby in football..stop critisizing of Nepal(only thing u rascals can do)..learn some football too.if u r proud of sunil don’t forget he is an indian guy of nepali origin……

  11. I don't know whether it was the right or wrong to participate however, its only the hard work and struggle that gives exposure to fellow workers. They may not win but who said that cant. While I see where your thoughts are coming from, lets not stand lone cynical.

  12. Kiran Chemjong should not be the first choice of goalkeeper. During the saff championship, inspite of Nepal performing extremely well, it was some silly mistakes from Goalkeeper against Afghanistan that sent Nepal crashing out from the semi finals. It was an angle that he could have judged and reduced! Even with Maldives during AFC challenge cup, he punched the ball inside so that the opponents could score!!
    Anyways, this trip is surely going to be a disaster as Sushil has predicted! A preparation of two weeks, and we will see the results for ourselves.

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