YAMAHA FOOTBALL: Best keeper’s award: Old vs new generation

Kathmandu, February 4:

The Martyrs’ Memorial National League is nearing its end but tough competition in all three positions - top, middle and bottom - has made it difficult to predict the position they will finish by the end of the league.

Only one of the 35 goalkeepers seen so far in the league will be the winner of Yamaha G5, the award to be given to the best goalkeeper. Yamaha Motors India has also announced a Yamaha G5 motorcycle each to other five best individuals - defender, midfielder, forward, highest scorer and coach.

The competition in goalkeeper’s category is between the old generation and the new. Most coveted goalkeeper of Nabil Three Star Club Upendra Man Singh belongs to the old generation.

Only few others belong to his generation, while most of the custodians are of the new generation. All of the 34 goalkeepers have performed to their best, but all of them have not been given the responsibility equally by their clubs. Only four clubs have fielded their regular goalkeepers, while four clubs have fielded two and six clubs have used three.A regular goalkeeper with outstanding performance will have more probability to win the award.

Apart from Upendra, MPC’s Ritesh Thapa, NRT’s Surendra Shrestha and RCT’s Dilip Chhetry have so far played regularly. Three Star won the last year’s league title under his captaincy and it was him who led MMC (TSC ??) to the league title in 2057.

Ritesh started his MPC career last year and was one of the favourites to win the best goalkeeper’s award. MPC has improved a lot after his arrival.

NRT has presented itself as a ‘dark-horse’ in the second leg and goalkeeper Surendra Shrestha deserves credit for that. Surendra, who is also the skipper of NRT, is the second most experienced goalkeeper after Upendra.

RCT’s Dilip Chhetri has also sufficient experience. He has performed well in all the matches that RCT has fared well.

Last year’s beat goal keeper Bikash Malla (Jawalakhel) plays for Manang Marsyangdi Club this season but his late return in the league could deprive him of the honour irrespective of his performance. BBC’s Binod Gurung and Mahabir’s Min Basnet are few others to name in the line.