National football coach Almutairi extends contract, arrives in Nepal


The Nepali national football team coach Abdullah Almutairi has returned to Nepal on Saturday after he signed a new deal with the All Nepal Football Association for another three years.

Almutairi was named head coach of Nepal's national men's team in April for one year. He was sent to Nepal by Qatar Football Association at the request of ANFA.

The AFC coaching instructor and pro license holder, Almutairi has an atypical relationship with Nepali football.

Almutairi's term was marked by scandals, despite receiving widespread support from supporters, particularly on social media, after the national team put on spirited performances in the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in Kuwait.

Later, social Media was abuzz with his row with ANFA vice president Pankaj Nembang. Another controversy ensued after he verbally abused two sports journalists at the ANFA Complex after one of them inquired the coach about smoking in a public place.

In his disagreement with ANFA, Almutairi announced his resignation on July 25 via his social media account, accusing Nembang of interfering with his duties. The issue is also thought to be tied to apology sought by journalists for the verbal abuse episode.

Nembang denied Almutairi's accusations and demanded a probe into the matter.

Following this, ANFA advised Almutairi to take a break and refrain from commenting about the incident in front of the media while an investigation was conducted.

After failing to find a solution, the ANFA called an emergency meeting on July 30 to urge that the Ministry of Youth and Sports examine the matter.

On August 2, shortly after the ANFA decision, Almutairi extended an apology on social media for the controversy surrounding his prior statement, in which he indicated he was stepping down from his role due to a disagreement with a senior ANFA official.

The relationship between the head coach and ANFA appeared to be normal following the incidents, however Almuitairi unexpectedly announced his departure after Nepal reached the final of the SAFF Championship in the Maldives, despite the fact that his contract was valid until September 2022.

Almutairi declared that the SAFF finals was his last match as coach of the Nepali football team, and that he would never return to Nepal.

Nepal had lost to India in the final, and Almutairi was forced to watch the 3-0 defeat from the stands owing to his suspension.

He'd flown back to Qatar from the Maldives. ANFA President Karma Tsering Sherpa, on the other hand, visited Qatar and met with Almutairi and QFA officials, after which Almutairi signed the contract renewal deal.

"Our next goal is to win the SAFF Championship," the much popular Almutairi told the media immediately after his arrival in Kathmandu.

Compiled by Sandeep Sen