Players demand end to uncertainty

Kathmandu, September 17:

A group of about 100 footballers and coaches today demanded an end to the uncertainty looming large at the football arena.

“We request the National Sports Council (NSC) not to disrupt the football movement by dissolving the current All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) executive committee,” said national team midfielder Rajesh Shahi on behalf of the players and coaches.

“We came together following a rumour that the NSC is planning to dissolve the ANFA. If that happens the international bodies will ban Nepal. Who will take the responsibilities of 800 A, B and C division club players, 80 coaches and more than 100 academy kids — who have been directly relying on the ANFA — if FIFA and AFC impose ban on Nepal?” asked the players.

Most of the players and coaches who attended the press meet were members of the closed camp being held for the World Cup qualifier against Oman (October 8 in Oman), AFC U-16 Championships qualifying tournament (October 6-17 in Iran) and AFC U-19 Championships qualifying tournament (November 6-17 in Uzbekistan). “Participation in the international tournaments is our right and can the NSC ensure us of the participation if FIFA bans Nepal,” asked Shahi.

“We don’t care whoever be the ANFA president. If NSC wants the ANFA elections, they should follow certain norms and most importantly that should not in any way affect players,” said Upendra man Singh, assistant coach of the national team that is preparing for the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Oman. “We are concerned about the players and coaches and we are ready to go to any extent for their rights,” added the former national team skipper.

“The Nepali football is just limping towards the semi-professional state and the players are in a position to earn their livings by playing football. We won’t tolerate any attempts by individual or a club to disrupt it,” warned Singh. Coach Raju kaji Shakya said the dissolution of ANFA at the present situation would only invite another catastrophe in Nepali sports. “We are not opposing elections. What we want is the peaceful solution,” he added.

National team assistant coach and former skipper Bal Gopal Maharjan and players Nabin Neupane, Nirajan Rayamajhi, Pradeep Maharjan, Sagar Thapa, Surendra Shrestha, Bikash Singh Chhetry, and Nirajan Malla among others were also present at the meet.

ANFA asks for more time:

KATHMANDU: The ANFA on Monday wrote the National Sports Council seeking an extension of the election dates. The ANFA, who last week had written the NSC promising the announcement of the election dates by today, asked for more time to prepare the new bylaws and get it sanctioned by the FIFA and AFC before holding the elections. “We are in a critical situation at the moment as we can neither disobey the NSC nor the international bodies,” said ANFA president Ganesh Thapa. “We are ready for elections as directed by the NSC, but we need some three months to prepare the bylaws and sent it to FIFA and AFC for sanction,” he added. “In this context, I request the NSC not to take unfavourable steps that affects the players and the sport at large,” he said. —HNS