It is perhaps the most exciting time for football in Nepal. Having gained the rights for hosting AFC Challenge Cup 2012 might just be the push that was needed. This little spark, if channelized properly can create a big formiddable flame that will be Nepali football.
The game is quite popular back in the country. There have been exciting players in recent times including the 24 year old Anil Gurung who created wave when he was called for Chelsea trial and then there are the likes of Jumanu Rai and Shrestha who are not only skilled but also have a lot of stamina.
We were quite hopeful of our chances in the SAFF Championship 2011. The team was playing excellent football and their game was the most pleasing to see. Coach Graham Roberts has done a great job of infusing short passing game style that suits our players.
But we were unlucky to loose out to resurgent Afghanistan with an extra time goal in the semi-final. Nevertheless, we were proud with the kind of display we put up.
AFC Challenge Cup in Kathmandu is the biggest opportunity for us. This is the biggest football event we are organizing on our home soil. The prize for the winner is a rare AFC Asian Cup 2015 berth. Needless to mention, we have the great home advantage. Not many players are accustomed to play at a hieght. Also, the crowd will be fierce in the revamped stadiums. We should go for the kill.
Coach Graham Roberts says,
We are playing at home. We will have strong crowd. Boys are flying and ready to go. I can say we are reaching semifinals. It will be unwise if any team take us lightly.
I would like us to reach the final and win it. We have faith in the team and the coach. But even if we fail to do so, the legacy left by the tournament will take us far.