Seven franchise teams buy 98 footballers; national team skipper Maharjan remains unsold


The 13th South Asian Games gold medal winning team skipper Sujal Shrestha and seven other footballers drew the highest bids in the players' auction for the Nepal Super League, while national team skipper Biraj Maharjan remained unsold here today.

All eight players - Shrestha, Bikash Khawas, Arik Bista, Dinesh Rajbanshi, Dip Karki, Bishal Sunuwar, Sunil Bal and Tej Tamang - were sold in lucky draw after two or more teams placed maximum bids of Rs 200,000 for them. The organisers had set the minimum of Rs 100,000 and maximum of Rs 200,000 for Grade 'A' footballers but none of the seven teams showed interest on Maharjan and national team striker George Prince Karki.

A total of four teams showed interest on Machhindra FC midfielder Shrestha and Pokhara Thunders got him in lucky draw, while FC Chitwan got Tribhuvan Army Club defender Khawas, who also drew four bids in auction. Likewise, Bista went to Lalitpur City FC in a race between two teams, whereas Karki was bought by Thunders after three clubs placed highest bids for the Manang Marshyangdi Club goalkeeper.

Six teams placed maximum bids for Tej Tamang and he went to Kathmandu Rayzors, while Bishal Sunuwar was bought by Chitwan after three teams showed interest on the goalkeeper. Likewise, Biratnagar FC got Sunil Bal and Dinesh Rajbanshi went to Dhangadhi FC after two teams made the highest bids for the players.

Biratnagar also bought two other Grade A players, Saroj Dahal and Santosh Tamang for Rs 100,000 each, while they got Grade B duo Bijay Dhimal and Hem Tamang for Rs 120,000 apiece in lucky draw. Other players bought by Biratnagar included Surya Adhikari (75,000), Bikram Dhimal (75,000), Kishor Giri (65,000) and Suraj Jeu Thakuri (60,000).

Also, Biratnagar bought Ashok Thapa, Dipak Rai and Nir Kumar Rai for Rs 50,000 each. Biratnagar, who spend Rs 1.105 million out of the maximum of Rs 1.5 million in auction, have already announced Ranjit Dhimal as marquee player.

Butwal Lumbini FC, the lowest spenders at Rs 960,000 - Rs 40,000 less than the minimum amount of one million rupees - bought Seshang Angdangbe for Rs 130,000, while they spent Rs 120,000 each for Rabin Shrestha Amir Shrestha and Rs 100,000 apiece for Suraj BK and Aashish Lama. Butwal Lumbini bought seven players - Laxman Ruchal, Man Bahadur Pariyar, Rabi Thapa Magar, Suman Lama, Jay Gurung and Randip Paudel - for Rs 50,000 each, while they got Chetan Kumar Tharu for Rs 20,000.

Bishal Shrestha is the marquee player of the team.

Apart from Bishal Sunuwar and Bikash Khawas, Chitwan FC bought Kuldip Karki and Tek Budhathoki for Rs 120,000 each, while they got Bikash Tamang for Rs 100,000. They spent Rs 75,000 each on Manish Thapa and Rup Bahadur Lama, while Chitwan got four players - Roman Rasaili, Shishir Lekhi, Amit Tamang and Rajiv Lopchan - for Rs 50,000 apiece.

Likewise, Dhangadhi FC got Rupesh KC, Bibek Basnet and Pujan Uperkoti for Rs 120,000 each, while they spent Rs 100,000 apiece for Nishan Khadka and Darshan Gurung.

Yuddha Sahi and Ashok Khawas joined Dhangadhi for Rs 75,000 each, while the team spent Rs 50,000 apiece on Yogesh Gurug, Tanka Basnet and Tekendra Thapa. Dhangadhi also got Soujan Rai and Nirajan Maharjan for Rs 20,000 each. Dhangadhi, who spent Rs 1.12m, have signed Bishal Rai and marquee player.

Also, Kathmandu Rayzors spent Rs 120,000 on Bishwas Shrestha and Rs 100,000 each on Sanjog Rai and Tridev Gurung.

Other players bought by the Rayzors included Bimal Pandey (75,000), Ashish Gurung (70,000), Sudil Rai (65,000) and Rumesh Bartaula (Rs 60,000). They spent Rs 50,000 each on Sudip Shikhrakar, Rajan Gurung, Binay Shrestha and Prazen Tamang, while Rayzors got Anjan Rai for Rs 20,000. The team, which has signed Bikesh Kuthu as marquee players, spent a total of Rs 1.03m saving Rs 520,000.

Lalitpur City FC spent Rs 120,000 each on four players - Kamal Shrestha, Prabesh Danawar, Mikchhen Gurung and Bimal Rana - and the team got all three players on lucky draw. Lalitpur got Palsang Lama for Rs 100,000, while Nabin Lama, Niroj Basnet and Gaurav Budhathki were sold for Rs 75,000 each.

The team spent Rs 50,000 on Ranjan Bista and Rs 20,000 each on Binod Gurung, Rohit Karki and Saroj Yonjan Lama.

Lalitpur, who have signed Anjan Bista as marquee player, spent a total of Rs 1.215m.

Pokhara Thunders, the biggest spenders at Rs 1.225 million, bought three players - Dipak Gurung, Nitin Thapa and Rajesh Pariyar - for Rs 120,000 each, while they spent Rs 100,000 for Ajit Bhandari.

Other players bought by the team included Gautam Shrestha (Rs 75,000), Anil Gurung (Rs 70,000), Prabin Kumar Syangtan (60,000), Man Bahadur Tamang (Rs 50,000) and Ajit Prajapati (50,000). Thunders, who have national team striker Nawayug Shrestha as marquee player, also got Sushil Rai, Suraj Gurung and Sujit Budhathoki for Rs 20,000 each.

A total of 149 players were listed in three grades and the seven teams bought 98 players in auction.

The teams will now sign three foreigners and two local players to complete the squad for the inaugural edition of the NSL set to kick off at Dasharath Stadium on April 24.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 20, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.