Team Nepal flops again


Team Nepal flops again

By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax, VA

The national football team of Nepal blew up yet another golden opportunity to steady the ship in the 2019 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup qualifiers played in Kathmandu.

The home team’s  efforts to redeem themselves went in vain, following an insipid performance, which resulted in a disappointing defeat against Tajikistan, leaving local fans hugely dejected, disappointed, frustrated and furious by the outcome.

After the umpteenth lackadaisical performance, there is pessimism about Team Nepal’s  prospect for progress. There are no excuses for the poor result whatsoever.  I have to admit the loss came as something of a surprise to me.

I expected them at least to win a point. Instead, they ended up as the losing party at the end of the day. This is another big blow to the team that has been underperforming and slacking lately.

It would not be an overstatement to say that Nepal has reached the unimaginable heights of mediocrity. The latest setback has made matters worse and it will only get worse if they keep on following the same direction and repeat the same mistakes. They have to start turning things around and producing desired results.

Nepal’s total failure to seize momentum back by winning home matches has been a detriment to their come back effort. Contrary to expectations, Coach Koji Gyotoku side had to pay a huge price for mediocrity.

They played very poorly in the first half, which cost them the match ultimately.They appeared disorganized, uninspiring, lacked tempo and fire in their belly.The defensive liability was exposed due to shaky defending, the offense was a pale shadow of its former self and midfield was nowhere near their best.

On the other hand, Tajikistan combined a physical presence and speed to dominate the proceedings for the most part. The host did put in a better performance in the second half, but they never looked threatening and dangerous.

With one point from three matches, Nepal has been pushed to the bottom of the group standings and are struggling like never seen before.

Although they have three matches, one home and two away, to play ,I hate to say it, if they continue to perform as they have so far,  they stand very little chance. It is high time they salvage some pride. The only way they can do that is by playing exceptionally well and get back in the winning column.

Evidently, the challenge has become even bigger, tougher and intriguing. There is serious collective effort needed to improve every facet of their game at all levels. The competition has exposed Team Nepal’s weaknesses and woes once again.

There is room for considerable improvement technically, physically and mentally, which I have stated, time and time again. Sadly, very little has been done to address the shortcomings that continue as I write.

Agreed that from here on the challenge for Nepal is by no means easy, however, I am still confident that with renewed confidence,  dogged resolve, fighting spirit and good performance, they could still have an outside chance to rally back and produce a positive result.

The irony, however, is that every time you hope and expect the team to come up with a bounce back game, they fall short or stumble badly. It seems that  I  am beginning to doubt about the abilities of Coach Gyotoku and his coaching staff. I am wondering what game plans, strategies they have up their sleeves for their side’s performance slump. TIme will tell.

In all fairness to the coaching staff and players, at the root of the problem is All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), which has been moving in the wrong direction for the last two decades.

There is desperation in the air and things are far from rosy right now for the national football squad.The stark fact is that nothing will change until we have honest, responsible, professionals committed to changing the much-maligned ANFA and the whole football culture in Nepal.