Former Nepal national team skipper Biraj Maharjan retired from international football bringing the curtain down on his illustrious career today.

The defender made the final appearance for the national team against Bangladesh when he replaced Tridev Gurung in the 89th minute during the final match of the Three Nations Cup. Nepal defeated Bangladesh 2-1 to win their first trophy at home in 37 years.

Maharjan received the blazer from Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who was the chief guest of the closing ceremony and he was greeted by the national team members with guard of honour. The team members then took a lap around the Dasharath Stadium with Bharat Khawas carrying Maharjan on his shoulders.

The 31-year-old Maharjan, who made the national team debut in 2008 in a friendly match against Pakistan in Pokhara, is the most capped Nepali player with 73 appearances and the most successful skipper with three titles. He led the national team to the titles of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup and AFC Solidarity Cup in 2016, along with South Asian Games gold medal in 2015.

In domestic football, Maharjan has bagged A Division League titles with three different teams - Three Star Club, Manang Marshyangdi Club and Machhindra Football Club.

Maharjan is the product of ANFA Academy third batch.

Maharjan thanked the ANFA, coaching staff and his teammates for giving the opportunity of taking retirement in front of home crowd. "I had a dream of hanging my boots in front of home crowd and it turned out to be a fitting farewell as I was able to retire with another trophy," said Maharjan. "I am what I am today is just because of football and I will always remain indebted to the sport. I am retiring with full satisfaction and I will always be there but in a different role."

National team skipper Kiran Kumar Limbu said the whole team was happy to bid farewell Maharjan with the trophy. "We had promised him of giving a farewell along with the trophy and we are glad that we could keep our words today," said Limbu. "We want to dedicate this win and the trophy to Biraj Maharjan," he added.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 30, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.