Sometime back, President of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), Ganesh Thapa had expressed hope that Nepal can compete in the FIFA World Cup within a decade. But, football enthusiasts believe that there are many holes and gaps to trust his words. It is crystal clear that FIFA World Cup is the biggest extravaganza for all FIFA affiliated 205 countries, which lock horns before selecting for 32 slots.
Nobody seems to have any idea when and how Nepal could reach the FIFA World Cup finals.
What is lacking in ANFA? This question isn't complete by just asking ANFA itself. First, we must know how ANFA is working, how much money it gets (from where?) and what it does? The Asian Football Confederation and FIFA are providing assistance to ANFA every year, but the irony is that the government doesn't provide a single penny to the ANFA. "If there is more investment then there results is sure," said Ganesh Thapa exclusively to Goal.com.
"The irony is that we aren't getting any assistance from the government to invest more money to get the desired good results." "Each and every government provides assistance to their national Football Association but where are we?" Thapa asked. "The money which we get from AFC and FIFA is not sufficient to produce world-class Nepali players," Thapa added. AFC provides USD 120,000 and FIFA USD 200,000 each year to ANFA.
A few months ago, when sports journalists held an interaction with ANFA President, Nepal's participation in the World Cup qualifiers was the chief point of discussion. "You can't hope to climb Mount Everest without first going to the Everest base camp," senior journalist Binod Pandey said. "We must first eye SAFF Championship, AFC Challenge Cup, Asian Cup selection and World Cup qualifying. "If Angola and Ivory Coast can participate in the World Cup, why can't we?"
Proper strategy and marketing policies are the current needs of ANFA. Sponsors, media and the fans are essential 'players' for the development of football. ANFA should capitalize those factors to promote the game. ANFA should also formulate some short and long term projects for the development of football. Definitely ANFA is doing a good job at the grassroots level and has also come up with some good results at the international arena.The Football Academy—being run by ANFA to produce good footballers-- has already completed seven years. ANFA should now make Clubs stronger so that they can create professional vibes among footballers. ANFA should approach corporate houses and sponsors to sponsor some Clubs and prize money. ANFA should make league football more systematic with a 'home and away' system. They should revamp the current league football to District League, Regional League and City League so that more and more players pay interest towards soccer. If the mass participation increases, talent will itself increases and it will directly benefits the country. League Prize money should be increased and gate money should be given to the clubs. ANFA should approach the government for assistance and should create awareness among people to support football as football is number one game in Nepal.
League Football is the backbone for the development of football. We have to change the current format to encourage new players. There isn't any proper "home and away" system as the games are organized at Dasarath stadium in Kathmandu only. There aren't any football grounds that can hold league football matches. Clubs should be made financially stronger so that they can pay good money to the players. For that, ANFA should enter into bilateral arrangements and agreements with the local clubs. For example, "gate money" receipts could be a major source. ANFA is providing some meagre money to every club as preparation cost for the league championship. Can any club manage expenses for five to six months to conduct league football with that meager sum of money? The answer is NO. So, there should be a strategic plan for Clubs from ANFA's side so that players, clubs and communities can see the football development.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that we can make it to the World Cup but it will need more dedication, assistance, environment of love, care and passion to make the dreams come true. Hopefully, it will not be more than a decade to see Nepali players in the red and blue jerseys in the World Cup Football.
Let's keep our fingers crossed.