Head coach blames senior vice-president Nembang of making 'drama' for the last three weeks


Nepali football fraternity suddenly got heated up this afternoon after national team head coach Abdullah Almutairi announced his resignation through social media.

The Qatari coach, who took over the national team helm in April, took to Facebook to announce his resignation and he blamed senior vice-president of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Pankaj Nembang for his decision to step down.

Almutairi met with ANFA president Karma Tsering Sherpa at his office and the governing body chief asked him to take rest for now.

"We were in a meeting with 'A' division club representatives regarding the league when I came to know about his status. Everyone, including VP Nembang, who was also in the meeting, was surprised in the beginning. He came to my office and said he was mentally disturbed. So, I asked him to keep his cool and take a rest for some time," said Sherpa.

"As I was in a hurry to leave for Pokhara, I have asked spokesperson Kiran Rai to look into the matter," he added.

Asked about the professionalism of the coach in handling the matter, Sherpa said he was warned of such activities.

"We have asked him to come to us before taking the issues to public from now on," said Sherpa.

Almutairi, who has gained huge support from fans, especially in social media, after the national team put in spirited shows in the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in Kuwait last month, openly blamed Nembang for his decision to quit. "Dear Nepali Fans... I'm going to ANFA to resign [and my resign] because of the senior vice president [Pankaj Nembang]," he wrote on Facebook.

He accused Nembang of creating drama every day for the last three weeks. "I hope you feel happy now Pankaj Nembang," he added. Almitairi was recently involved in a controversy after he verbally abused two sports journalists at the ANFA Complex after one of them inquired the coach about smoking at a public place.

While coach Almutairi did not respond to our efforts to talk to him, senior vice-president Nembang denied the accusation and demanded a probe into the matter.

"I was shocked to know about his quitting the post because of me," said Nembang.

"I have never questioned him regarding his handling of the team and his style of playing.

Instead I have praised him for his efforts in bringing out positive results in the team," said Nembang, who has been criticising Sherpa and his handling of the ANFA off late. "I am feeling some conspiracy against me through the issue and I demand a serious probe into the matter. I am ready to resign from the post if found guilty," he added.

While Sherpa is seeking another stint at the ANFA, Nembang is leading a panel to oust the current president from the post in the next election. Technical Committee Convenor Krishna Thapa resigned from the post accusing the ANFA leadership of not consulting him about the contract extension of the coach a couple of days ago, while two officials of the ANFA hostel management committee headed by Member Dinesh Byanjankar also quit for not having favourable environment to work.

ANFA Spokesperson Rai said the coach did not submit his resignation and the issue would be resolved through dialogue.

"We have asked him to take rest for some time and we will be looking into the matter thoroughly. Hopefully we will come up with a solution in a couple of days," he said. "For now, we will keep on focusing on our preparation for the SAFF Championship as the South Asian Football Federation has asked us to submit the proposal to host the event in October," he said.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 26 2021, of The Himalayan Times.