Nepal FA Should Learn From Bhutan’s Phenomenal Rise


The latest debacle for Gorkhalis came as the latest FIFA rankings have placed Nepal at 184th position. This is a major blow for the football crazy nation, but should not come as a surprise considering the prevailing corruption and mismanagement in Nepal football. With a rank of 184, team Nepal has sunk to an all time low. The humiliation does not stop there, they are ranked rock bottom in South Asia and third last in Asia. It is unbelievable that just when you think it cannot get any worse, it gets progressively worse for the Gorkhalis.


The Shining Example of Bhutan

Bhutan Football
Bhutan Players After Winning Against Sri Lanka

Bhutan (rank- 164th), who carried the unwanted tag of minnows of South Asian football for a very long time appears to have finally passed the baton to Nepal. The kind of turnaround Bhutan has made in terms of results and progress is quite remarkable. They have turned a corner largely due to genuine commitment, honesty, good governance and professionalism on part of Bhutan Football Federation. Whether it is the infrastructure or domestic football or grass roots level football, they have made significant headway, so much more than what we expected. All the good and hard work put in by Bhutan FA is finally starting to pay off. In stark contrast, sadly, the current scenario presents bleak prospects for Nepali football.

Corrupt and incompetent ANFA

Football aficionados and players are facing more frustration, embarrassment and humiliation than ever before, and it is a sign of how far Nepali football has fallen behind. Players, coaches and fans’ woes remain unresolved as All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) remains in corrupt and incompetent hands. The problems facing Nepali football are much bigger than you think. There is no indication that things are trending in the right direction. There is no end to gross incompetency, coupled with widespread corruption and mismanagement in ANFA, which has crippled Nepali football for so long.

Under the failed and dictatorial stewardship of Mr. Ganesh Thapa spanning over two decades, the football body has inflicted unprecedented shame and humiliation on Nepali football.

Nepal football
Ganesh Thapa with Mohamed Bin Hammam

Mr. Thapa continues to drive Nepali football toward the abyss. The sad part is that nobody really gives a damn about what he does or what he has done. Our toothless government along with the two football governing bodies FIFA and AFC seemed to be unconcerned about Mr.Thapa despite serious allegations of corruption and administrative  irregularities. They have done nothing to stop the destruction he is doing to Nepali football. They have for long turned a blind eye to his disastrous scandal-tainted leadership and let him have his way. This is sheer incompetence and negligence on part of FIFA and AFC. Also it is very clear that they lack accountability and oversight. Here, we have a glaring example of FIFA protecting one of the most corrupt officials like Mr.Thapa. If they have been led to believe he is innocent, they have made themselves a laughing stock.

The biggest irony is that while FIFA Ethics Committee continues its review of Mr. Thapa’s alleged corruption scandal, they have allowed him to resume his duties. I find it hard to believe that FIFA has thrown its weight behind Mr.Thapa. How can we trust FIFA that is trying to regain its credibility and the trust of fans? First and foremost, FIFA must stop all the dilly-dallying and take prompt actions against corrupt officials, if they really want to root out corruption. The clean up starts from bottom to top up and vice versa.

The leadership of Mr. Thapa can be best described as a colossal failure.  He has survived this long with the support of his friends and cronies who are in key leadership positions. It is cronyism at its best in ANFA. Now that he is a full time politician, he splits his time between politics and football. What more can we expect of Mr.Thapa?

Players and coaches share responsibility for their woes for being too submissive to ANFA. It is high time now to awake out of sleep. Otherwise, things will get worse for Nepali football.


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