Mahesh Acharya

Kathmandu, May 11:

All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) is all set to sign Shyam Thapa as coach for youth teams of Nepal. “We are almost done,” said Ganesh Thapa, president of ANFA talking to The Himalayan Times on Tuesday. “Now we are at the last stage and by the end of May we will sign him,” he added. Thapa also informed that the contract would be for four years and Shyam Thapa is expected to focus on youth teams — basically the Under-20 and Under-17 footballers. In an interview to The Himalayan Times on March 10, 2003, Shyam Thapa had said that he was always ready to work with ANFA. “It’s not that I don’t want to help Nepali football, but they (ANFA) should approach me if they need me,” Thapa said about his interest in Nepali football.

Praising Ganesh Thapa as an impressive and talented footballer of his time, Thapa said: “He knows how to raise the standard of the sport as he has got good links with bosses in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), which will definitely help him in developing the sport in Nepal.” Thapa is an Indian footballer of Nepali origin, and believes that political non-interference and motivation are the keys in the development of sport. Thapa, who played regional and national level football in India, was born in Varsha of Gulmi District in 1948. He completed his studies in Dehra Dun. Thapa was a member of India football team that bagged bronze medal at the Asian Games held in Bangkok in 1970. He represented India from 1970-1978. The 1974 Asian Games held in Tehran was the last Asian Games for Thapa.

Thapa started his career with East Bengal club in 1966. He returned to Kolkata in 1967 and played for Gorkha Brigade Team for two years. He played for Mafatlal, Mumbai from 1971-73. He then returned to East Bengal and played there until his retirement in 1984.

He also played for Mohan Bagan from 1977 to 1983. He captained Mohan Bagan in 1982. After retirement, he started his next innings as a coach. Thapa, who completed Coaching Diploma from London Football Association in 1987, coached East Bengal from 1985-90. He also coached the Indian Youth Team in 1988. Since 1991, Thapa has been working as technical director in the Residential Football Academy of Williamson Magor Tea Company in Kolkata.

He came to Nepal to participate in Tribhuvan Challenge Shield in 1977 and along with Bodh Bahadur Raut Chhetri (presently president of All Nepal Lions Club) formed Boys Union Club, which at present is an ‘A’ Division Club in Nepal. “We are hiring Shyam Thapa basically to help the youth teams, but he can help the national side as well,” said Ganesh Thapa, who also disclosed that the football’s governing body in Nepal was looking for a foreign coach for the national side. “We are in talks with a German and other foreign coaches for the national team,” added the ANFA president, who recently received the AFC Distinguished Service Award.