Nepali football team's UK tour marred by mistreatment and financial irregularities

Nepali football team's UK tour marred by mistreatment and financial irregularities

The Nepali national football team's recent tour of the United Kingdom for two friendly matches has been marred by allegations of poor treatment, mismanagement, and financial irregularities involving the organizers and Nepali football officials.

The tour, organized at the invitation of Aldershot Town Club, saw the Nepali players facing disrespect from the moment they landed at Heathrow Airport. Instead of being accommodated in hotels, the players were forced to stay in hostels despite their initial refusal. "There was no drinking water for the players. Each player put an apple and a banana in a plastic bag and entered the field," according to reports.

On the field, the Nepali team's performance against England's 'C' team and Gurkha soldiers was described as "pathetic." For almost 95 percent of the time, the ball remained in Nepal's territory, with the team focused on defensive play to avoid conceding more than the two goals they ultimately did. The sole bright spot was the performance of goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong, which earned praise from the audience.

However, off the field, the team faced numerous challenges. A dispute over which jersey to wear threatened to escalate until the Nepali Embassy in London intervened. "If the Nepali Embassy in London had not intervened, an atmosphere was developing that would probably not have been a friendly game," sources stated.

Amidst these difficulties, allegations have surfaced that the host club, Aldershot Town, profited significantly from the Nepali team's visit. Tickets for the match at the 8,000-capacity EBB Stadium were priced at 10 pounds for adults and 5 pounds for under-17s. With spectators arriving from as far as Scotland, Wales, and the Midlands to watch the game, it is believed that crores of Nepali rupees were collected from the audience.

The accounts of how much the organizers earned by showcasing the Nepali players remain opaque. "The accounts of how much the organizers earned by showing Nepali players are not transparent. The issue of paying the players has gone too far. The organizers say that it is an achievement to play on British soil," sources stated.

Additionally, questions have been raised about the involvement of Shahid Azim, a person of Pakistani origin who serves as the president of Aldershot Town Club. "Experts say that it is wrong to send Nepal's national team to Britain on the invitation of a person of Pakistani origin," the reports noted.

Meanwhile, the role of the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) and its officials has also come under scrutiny. It is alleged that ANFA succeeded in bringing more than a dozen people to Britain by making the tour official in Nepal. "There is talk in the Nepali sports field that some officials of ANFA have collected a good amount of money from those officials who came to Britain," sources claimed.

The Nepali Ministry of Youth and Sports intervened after receiving late information about ANFA's plans to take unauthorized personnel to the UK. Minister Virajbhakt Shrestha sought clarification from ANFA officials and the member secretary of the National Sports Council, Tanklal Ghising. Following the minister's intervention, the trip to Britain of about 15 officials was canceled.

As the fallout from the ill-fated tour continues, calls for a thorough investigation into the alleged mistreatment of players, financial irregularities, and possible corruption have grown louder within the Nepali sports community.

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