On the ongoing AFC U-16 Qualifiers which is being held in Kyrgyzstan, Nepal  put on a dismal show going down 3-1 to Oman in a match which was very important for Nepal. The South Asian team couldn’t cope up with the pressure of the Middle East team in the Group B match. Nepal’s defeat in the match which was crucial for the qualification of the team for the AFC U-16 tournament almost came to an end. Nepal, which just needed a draw to qualify for the next year’s tournament to be held in India, never seemed like making a comeback throughout the match as the team fell behind 2-0 by the first half. Later on the scoreline changed to 3-1 which means the South Asian team is almost out of the competition. What can be said for certain is that it is really a matter of shame for all the supporters of Nepalese football especially at this level because the team had made a flying start by edging Jordan in the opening match 2-1. It returned with the same display to defeat the host team Kyrgyzstan 4-2. Something needful must be done for the improvement of the team in the AFC U-16 level so that it will be able to do well in the future as per the expectations.

Pratik Shrestha, Kathmandu

Slowdown
Apropos of the news story “Slowdown in tourist arrivals hits Thamel” (THT, Sept. 19, Page 13), it seems that the tourism industry in Nepal is back in the ventilator just days after the announcement that it is standing on its feet again. “Tourism sector back on its feet after earthquake, says Minister Sherpa” (THT, Sept. 16, Page 2). Business in the country’s primary tourist district is reportedly down by 90 per cent compared to the same period last year. It would take more than the ‘new look and services’ of the hotels to resuscitate Thamel tourism. It is not only the Thamel area that has been affected due to the slowdown in tourism activities but other parts as well. It was expected that tourist arrivals would resume after the promulgation of the new constitution. But the situation is going to turn worse as the ongoing unrest in the Tarai region over the contents of the new constitution has given a warning bell to the visiting tourists. Although tourist arrivals from the Tarai region or surface route are less than from the air route, the media reporting about the unrest in one part of the country or the other will definitely cause harm to overall business of the tourism sector. The agitation in the Tarai is sure to cut down  tourist arrivals in the Chitwan National Park, Lumbini and the Bardiya National Park which are located in the plains. Unless the ongoing political situation improves it would be premature to expect a surge in the arrivals of tourists during the winter when a large number of foreigners visit Nepal for trekking, mountaineering and sightseeing.

J. Talchabhadell, Bhaktapur