No Relief From Embarrassment
Whether it is the senior national football team or the Under-23, there is no end in sight for their travails and the end result has been the same. They continue to be plagued by poor performance in international tournaments, one after another. The latest setback is another blow to Nepali football. For now, the nightmare is over for our boys in the Under -23 AFC qualifiers in Tehran, Iran.
In the final game, Palestine hammered the final nail into the coffin of hapless Nepal with an emphatic 4-0 victory. The loss to Palestine was the fourth successive defeat for winless Nepal in the competition. It was a complete debacle for the team from start to end, and it turned out to be a total team failure in every department of the game. Although purely academic, Palestine did not spare the dejected, crestfallen Nepal. As Expected, they overwhelmed, toyed with the weak opposition, adding insult to injury. Just like previous matches, Nepal could not handle the speedy, organized, physically and technically dominant opponent throughout. They were constantly kept on their toes and had to resort to frantic defending.
Looking back at the competition, it is hard to believe that Nepal conceded a total of 17 goals and failed to score a single goal. There is no arguing that the team under performed and suffered the humiliation of being the worst outfit in the competition. This is nothing short of the utter mortification, ignominy and embarrassment that makes them the laughing stock of international football.
It is not whether you win or lose, it is all about how you play the game. At least, there has to be a desired degree of competitiveness, readiness and preparedness while playing in highly competitive matches. It was no surprise that Nepal lost to superior teams like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Palestine. As a matter of fact, it was a foregone conclusion long before the competition kicked off.
Obviously, Nepal lacked the motivation and competitive edge and looked like a spent force throughout the tournament. There is no need for me to dissect the mediocrity of the team, over and over. I have opined my views numerous times. I hate to repeat myself, not at the expense of readers’ interest. For fans like me, it is very difficult to digest the outcome and at the same time very frustrating and upsetting to see the team play lamentably.
That being said, it is imperative that we highlight the reasons why Nepali football is in such a rapid free fall, even if it means repeating ourselves, once in a while.
The sole purpose is to keep reminding everyone that Ganesh Thapa led ANFA has significantly contributed to the malaise that has gripped Nepali football, resulting in more failure, embarrassment, and disillusionment.
The unfortunate ongoing trend that is taking Nepali football into oblivion is a fact, and we cannot escape it. As long as the trend continues expected, Nepali football will languish further. That means footballers and fans will be forced to endure more setbacks and humiliation in days to come.
What angers me most is that All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) refuses to take any blame for the latest disaster. Instead they cite that it was a case of the team not playing well against formidable opponents and defeat was inevitable. This is nothing new to our ears. We have heard them say this thousand times. After all, they needed to say something to defend themselves. What a shame!
This is the height of absurdity. The Tehran fiasco is a direct result of maladministration, mismanagement on part of the football body. The silence maintained by coach Jack Stefanowski and his assistant Bal Gopal Maharjan is stunning. We are yet to hear from them the reasons why the team under performed. They will never admit they or ANFA were/are wrong.
The so-called national media has shown no interest to seek answers from ANFA and coaches on the team’s mediocrity. Despite a string of pathetic results, there are no indications that ANFA is getting rid of coach Stefanwoski. Coach Stefanwoski has shown his true colors by constantly singing the praises of ANFA to the world. No doubt, ANFA needs a coach like him, and why should they dump him?
There has been very little effort (from players and coaches) to make ANFA accountable and responsible for their actions for years. The big irony is that some senior players, coaches, along with club members appear happy with the favors they have received from ANFA in exchange for their support, which is very unfortunate.
The young brigade of coaches in the likes of Raju Shakya, Hari Khadkha, Bal Gopal Maharjan, Upendra Man Singh and many others must rise above all their personal interests and act in the best possible way to better serve Nepali football. Regrettably, they have made their intentions clear and exposed themselves by rallying around a corrupt ANFA whose policies have ruined Nepali football.
Lately much has been written about Team Nepal’s woes to arbitrary selection of the team, fragile mental and physical state of players, poor preparation and training, lack of adequate commitment from players and ineffective coaching staff.
First and foremost, the crux of the problem is ANFA itself. The players are nothing but mere pawns at the hands of corrupt, incompetent and unprofessional ANFA officials. This is a mere reflection of a system in total disarray. It is coming down to nothing more than apathy.