Nepalese football clubs, Players, ANFA and match-fixing
When FIFA announced the goal projects for Nepal, I had thoughts that Nepal’s football will just turn upside down in a blink of an eye. That was what my initial thoughts and Mr. Ganesh Thapa was the president of ANFA. I had some crazy thoughts after that, at least Nepal will be a powerhouse of South Asia in a decade or so as I felt Nepalese love football more than any other south Asian country besides Bangladesh.
The change was not coming in a few years, so we had to wait for the products of the goal project. I guess the first or second batch of the ANFA product was bought by friend’s club. I had seen them in practice ground and they were good. At the same time, Nepal was having a Maoist movement and there were no regular football leagues. In the coming years, many clubs could not handle the financial pressure and clubs like RCT and NRT decide not to play league or get demoted to the 2nd division.
Some league match attracts lots of football fans
The lack of regular league was another blame for not having Nepalese football progress. I remember when I was in class 7 or 8, we had a computer teacher Mr. Bishwa Jung Gurung who was also a licensed FIFA linesman. We used to talk about football with him during our free time at the computer lab. He used to say, with a league like this Nepal football standard will never lift. We need to have a league format in home and away system. At that time we were not so exposed to the European league so for me it was a puzzle, I used to think what kind of format is that.
Empty stadium in some league matchs
ANFA was still running its goal projects and was expanding to different districts of Nepal, but the products were not showing their impact and many players from the academy left the country for their bright future.
So here are some questions that come into my mind.
Why ANFA did not have a regular League?
Why only Kathmandu based league?
What was ANFA’s plan so the players can sustain their life in Nepal by playing football?
How football clubs will sustain and make money to that they can play league?
These were some reasons that many players were forced to leave their passion behind and had to go abroad for their bright future, and the ones who were left back in Nepal were fighting for their survival.
In Nepal’s international matches the stadium is 100% occupied
I have heard about the clubs doing match-fixing so that they can stay in A division, lots of result from a league match makes us think that these games were fixed. It’s an open secret but no one speaks. But in later years without the notice of the club official, the players were involved in it.
A decade ago a game in a league between Friend’s club and NRT was a fishy one. At the last moment, friends gave away the game, later I heard that 2 brothers were involved in fixing the game. One was the goalkeeper and the other was the striker of the opponent team. I don’t know what ANFA did in this incident but I heard friends club took action on its player. After this incident, it took almost a decade for me to enter the stadium to watch a league game.
One of my friend who played B division once said to me that they were on the verge of getting promoted to A division but team management didn’t want and they were forced to give result away in favor of the opponent team.
One of my friend’s organization sponsor one of the A division clubs a few years back told me his side of the story. He said that when the team was winning continuously he was surprised with these results. When he asked the management about it, he was shocked to hear the answer, that some of these matches were fixed in favor of their team.
After a long time Nepalese football Happy Moment in SAG-2019
He even told me that during the international match of Nepal one of the people he knows told him that Nepal will lose the game. When he tried to know more why he said so, that guy told that even Nepal’s match gets fixed as players from Nepal don’t earn too much, and the match-fixers target a few players from the team who gets paid for giving away the game. If players get thousands of dollars for losing a game then why would he work hard to win the game? May be from that time Nepal Police and AFC started investigating the match-fixing of Nepal’s game
This year also some games in the league were linked with match-fixing. The games result between Armed Police Force (APF) and Friends Club was doubtful, similarly Saraswati Youth Club and Himalayan Sherpa game were also in doubt and it was investigated by ANFA and took action on few players involved in match-fixing.
In the year 2015, AFC bans Nepali footballers on allegation of match-fixing of an international match that Nepal played. The investigation was carried by sports radar and Nepal Police. It was big disappointing news for me as a Nepali football fan.
Many people were shocked by the news and many supporters were for and against the players. Some even said that police framed this purposely.
why would the Nepal police frame it? Why AFC would ban and ask FIFA to ban them worldwide?
A few months ago there was news that cases filed against these players were cleared by the court and they were set free, court also stated that there is no law against match-fixing in Nepal.
The court set them free, they are giving interviews to the media that the court set them free so AFC and ANFA should lift the ban on them. But the media persons who were taking their interviews have not let the viewers know the truth about the court decision.
The other point not to miss is, Wilson Raj Perumal’s biography Kelong Kings, he has mentioned about fixing Nepal’s international games and being paid for the result according to his wish.
International Match-fixing Of Nepal’s game has been rooted in recent years according to my analysis.
So who is to blame for these fixing which is killing the beautiful game of Football. It’s killing the passion of the supporters.
Few things make players get bribe and fix the match.
• They are not motivated by the management, but in our scenario, if the club officials itself are in fixing the match, how can they motivate players?
• Players’ financial status plays another role. Even after ANFA invested time and money to produce players, they have failed to raise the living standard of the players. Players who were produced by ANFA, the ones who have a good family background, and good in studies they went abroad, others were left behind in Nepal or went to Arab or Malaysia in search of work.
• Players who want to show off and raise their lifestyle in a short period.
Few days back I was watching an interview of “Match Fixing in Indian Football: Interview with Minerva Punjab FC’s Ranjit Bajaj”
he quoted that even players from his club players were offered for match-fixing. There are some points he has mention which applies here too. He even has mentioned how match-referee too can play a role in match-fixing.
One thing that I have noticed that there is no one from Nepalese football who has projected a plan saying that at a certain time we will make a team that can compete at Asian level at least.
What next for ANFA now?
It should take strict action on these match-fixer players. They should look after the match-fixing from the club level in the league and take action.
It should have a regular football league which at least lasts for 8 months in the year and it should not just be focused in Kathmandu and should add few more clubs from other cities beside Kathmandu valley.
It Should bring some program to make clubs financially strong and have their infrastructure.
Clubs need to sign players for a certain period rather than for a tournament, and if other clubs want to sign the players from another club needs to pay the value.
Nepalese football fan outside stadium watching football on big screen
There is a new fashion in Nepalese football clubs, most of the A division clubs have some foreign players. How are these players going to help to improve the Nepalese Football? you won’t gain anything by low-grade foreign players. we have seen that in Bangladesh and India. Indians are catching up with big names in ISL league clubs, somewhat they are heading in the right direction and the Indian team result shows it. Big names just not attract football fans, but the sharing of their knowledge in the field will also help lots of players to learn from them.
The other thing Nepal can do is since Nepal is geographically a beautiful country with high altitude place, If ANFA can create a proposal to attract big football clubs from Europe for high altitude training in return of their technical knowledge sharing (Support ) with different clubs or national team of Nepal can be another step to improve the football and get exposure to world-class footballers.
Since we have some infrastructure for the grassroots level, I want ANFA’s next president to address these point
Happy Nepalese fan after Nepal won men’s football gold in SAG-2019
At least he should try to improve our Football level where we can compete not just with south Asian countries but with a good team from ASEAN and MIDDLE EAST.
Before I could post this blog, there is a court verdict out on match-fixing, you can download the full copy. In point 40, 41, and 42 clearly says its the case of match-fixing but since there is no law about match-fixing, the police were forced to file as “Rastriya Biplov” which means, insurgency, rebellion, sedition, an uprising against the nation. Match-fixing does not threaten national security according to the case filed so they are set free from allegation due to lack of law.
Download Court Verdict on Match-Fixing Case
Click here to read about my passion towards the football