Tough fight to go on top

Kathmandu, January 31:

Battle for survival as well as for the championship forced most of the team to field the African-based players in the Martyrs’ Memorial National League Football. Ten out of the participating 15 clubs have brought Nigerian players to strengthen their team.

Departmental teams — Tribhuvan Army Club, Mahendra Police Club and Gyanendra Armed Police Force (APF) Officers’ Club — and NRT and RCT are the only clubs, who have not hired the foreigners.

But these Nigerians, except for Obagbimiro Junior, have not proved their mettle in the league so far. Junior, a key BBC player, is considered the best one. He has not only topped the highest scorers’ list, but also won the hearts of football fans with his skills and cool finishing.

Junior replaced Basanta Thapa from the top after the MMC striker went to Japan. BBC coach Suman Yonjon claims that Junior is the best player in the current league.

With 20 goals to his credit, Junior has become a strong contender to win a Yamaha G5. Yamaha Motors India have also announced the awards to the best player, goalkeeper, midfielder, defender, striker and coach.

As the league is heading to its end, the competition is also getting tough. Nabil Three Star’s Surendra Tamang, RCT’s Rishi and Army’s Janamat Karki are pressing hard to win the battle.

Surendra is at third with 18 goals, one less than Basanta Thapa. Surendra, who won the best striker’s award last year, is the only third player to have scored 50 league goals. Basanta and MPC’s Ramesh Budhathoki have achieved the feat before him. Budhathoki, with16 goals in the league so far, is out with injury.

Janamat and Rishi have 17 goals each, while APF’s Mani Pandit and NRT’s Yugal Kishor Rai have scored 15 goals apiece. As the difference between these players is just four goals, any player can go on top.

JYC’s Abdul Gani Olawale has netted 13 goals, while Ram Kumar Biswas (Army), Nilendra Dewan (Sankata), Jibesh Pandey (APF), and Nabin Neupane (MMC) are one goal behind in the run.