HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
LALITPUR: Friends Club has signed back their old boys Sagar Thapa, Nirajan Khadka and Deepak Bhushal in an undisclosed amount, the ‘A’ Division outfit announced here today.
The trio received welcome at the club premises amidst a ceremony. Friends Club President Ratna Shumsher Rana said the three players will get their paychecks considering the overall performance of the club throughout the year.
“Under the agreement, they will be paid after watching how the club fare in the new season,” said Rana, who only gave a tentative figure of Rs 35-40,000 the players would get.
The national team skipper Sagar — who played last season for the Himalayan Sherpa Club — had one spell with Friends in 2002. Nirajan, meanwhile, had two spells with Friends.
Nirajan made his ‘A’ Division debut with Friends in 2004 and spent the next two seasons at Three Star in 2005 and Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) in 2006 before rejoining his old club in 2009. Nirajan again joined MMC where he played the last two seasons.
Deepak made his ‘A’ Division debut with Sankata in 2009 and played for Friends the next year. The 23-year old also played for MMC last season. Sagar, who had also played for New Road Team, Sankata and MMC, said he felt good to get back to his old club.
“It feels like we are back home. We will give everything to make Friends Club the No 1 team in the country,” said Sagar. The three players — who have been regular national team members — were unable to play competitive football tournament for the last six months after their respective clubs released them.
The three-time Tribhuvan Challenge Shield champions Friends, who climbed to the top tier in 1982 after spending seven years in ‘B’ Division, have never won top tier league. They have finished runner-up five times. Club's senior vice-president Deepak Thapa said bringing the trio back is just a step in their bid to win the ‘A’ Division League.
“Our target is to win the League this season and compete in the AFC President’s Cup,” said Thapa, adding the club is also having talks with other recognised footballers including their former player and current national team striker Bharat Khawas.
Bharat played for Friends in 2009 before joining Nepal Police Club in contract where he also won two 'A' Division League titles. Bharat is currently without a club after his contract with NPC expired.