07 July 2011

Nothing's really changed

Just got back from a trip to Nepal. Nepali football pretty much keeps trudging along as usual. Several football official remarked how competitive the Martyrs League is this year. Even unfancied clubs are holding their own. This is primarily due to the influx of foreigners who have helped create somewhat of a level playing field. Unlike leagues abroad where all the best players, including the foreigners, go to the richest clubs - Nepal's transfer market is not so sophisticated as of yet and the best foreigners can many times land on some of the smaller teams like Bansbari and JYC.

The same issues pretty much ail football in Nepal. Match fixing is rampant (though much more veiled than before), there is no youth football (other than at Bansbari and Madhyapur Thimi), and referee and coach development are at a standstill. The country goes into euphoria when Nepal beats teams ranked 50 spots below them in the FIFA Rankings showing just how low our expectations have become.

Nonetheless, when the national team plays the stadium is packed, media coverage is solid, sponsorship is at an all time high and enthusiasm for the sport remains strong. We've still got many problems and we've still got enormous potential. Nothing's really changed.