Nepal bit the dust in AFC Under- 19 qualifiers

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By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax,VA

Contrary to expectations, the 2018 Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championship qualifiers In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan has turned into an absolute debacle for Team Nepal.

The young guns underperformed and were completely overwhelmed,outplayed by the opponents.They bit the dust and hit rock bottom, losing four straight games much to everyone’s chagrin.

The manner in which Nepal performed and succumbed   against opponents in the likes of Kyrgyzstan (2-0), Bahrain (4-0), United Arab Emirates (1-0) and Oman (5-0), speaks for itself.

I am not overstating the fact when I say that the overall level of their performance was quite simply unacceptable and staggering.On the field, they looked like a bunch of mediocre and misfits. Not only were they winless but failed to score a single goal.

I hate to say, it was a dismal, uninspiring and frustrating performance from start to finish. They struggled massively to get their game going individually and collectively, and they never quite found their groove. It is what it is.

Likewise, they were unable to gain momentum or control the tempo of the game and struggled against the superior opponents in every department of the game. They did not  play to their potential and  showed no semblance of any concerted fightback to make matters worse.

In the match against  the United Arab Emirates,  Nepal  had a golden opportunity to restore parity and  some of their battered  pride but squandered it, after failing to convert the spot kick.I feel terribly sorry for players who are so talented and committed but have been let down badly  by the management. It is such a shame.

Prior to the competition, expectation was not too high for the team, however, nobody thought they would fumble and stumble their way through each and every game. They literally got outpaced, outmuscled in every game. They from all indications did not look fully prepared for the engagement.

To be fair, going into the tournament ,they were the less favoured side. Also they were definitely at a disadvantage against opponents, physically and technically.  The result did not take me by surprise  at all, I expected it. But what I did not expect  was  the clumsy manner in which they played throughout the tourney.

The hugely disappointing result in Bishkek is  simply just  a reflection of the sad state of the game in the country today. The sport has declined enough to be cause for alarm over the years. Ironically, nobody cares.

There was a time, when Nepal used to consistently perform well in different age group football,unfortunately, that is no more relevant today. The rapid decline is largely the result of sheer negligence and bad governance on part of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA).

Everyone knows ANFA is responsible for developing and advancing the game at all levels.The thing that irks me the most is that they have never demonstrated a serious intent to address the problems impeding the development and progress of football.  Instead driven by vested interest they are more concerned with maintaining their power within the staus quo.

The football body governed by the same incapable,unprofessional  set  of people for the last two decades  plus  has  gotten increasingly unaccountable, incompetent  and corrupt.They have  done little or nothing at all. In other words, nothing gets done.

I am afraid the face of Nepal football will not change, unless there are radical changes top down when it comes to ANFA, which include leadership and executives. Otherwise, the future looks bleak and more challenging every day for young footballers, dreaming big.

And the vicious cycle of poor performances and bad results in international football will continue unabated. The setback in Bishkek is just one example, and we will see more.