HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
LALITPUR: The competition of the AFC U-14 Boys Festival of Football kicked off here with march-past of five participating teams at the ANFA Complex grounds today.
Finance Minister Barsa Man Pun inaugurated the competition amidst cheers from a sizeable crowd of comprising mostly school boys and girls. Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Vice-president and All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) President Ganesh Thapa, AFC Head of Youth Football John Whittle, National Sports Council (NSC) Member Secretary Yubaraj Lama, ANFA vice-presidents Lalit Krishna Shrestha, Bijay Narayan Manandhar and Narendra Shrestha were also present on the occasion.
The U-14 boys from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan will get the feel of football competition in the next five days. The competition, which has been divided into two formats of 30 and 60 minutes of games, is less about winning and more about learning the trades. The competition allows the youngsters to showcase their skills and learn the value of fair play, discipline and sportsmanship. Accompanying the march-past with five teams were the ‘C’ Certificate Coaching Course and Referee Course participants. ANFA General Secretary Dhirendra Pradhan said ANFA has long been working in the development of grassroot development of football and that the Festival added more fuel to their effort.
Ganesh Thapa said the Festival was an effort of the Asian football governing body to develop football from grassroot level. “It is a great opportunity for coaches, referees and physiotherapists to nurture their talents,” said Thapa.
“If anybody feels that we, as a local organiser, failed to satisfy our guests on certain fields, I assure you all to correct those shortcomings in the years to come.”
Nepal is also set to host the U-13 Festival of Football next year. Thapa said the Festival was a strong commitment of AFC in its bid for the grassroot development. Thapa gave more importance to the courses offered to referees, coaches and physiotherapists rather than the competition itself. Thapa added that Nepal had several benefits by organising the Festival.
“It helps us produce better technical manpower apart from assisting in upgrading the infrastructure. “We developed a luxurious hostel inside our complex specifically for the Festival,” said Thapa adding that it has contributed in the infrastructure development.
Thapa said that they would now upgrade the facility at the Technical Centre in Chyasal,” he said. Due to such development, the ANFA President looks foward to host the Festival for the next two years beyond 2013. “The infrastructure built will be instrumental in cost reduction while hosting other international events in future as well,” said Thapa.