A division league football begins Saturday



KATHMANDU, Feb 19: The Martyrs Memorial San Miguel A Division National League football tournament will begin on Saturday at the Dasharath Stadium after a three-year hiatus. It is the 37th edition of the event in 56 years of its history.

The event carried the legacy of the Janaki Cup, which was initiated by the then Nepal Football Association in 1951 as the premier division club football. Nepal Police´s team won all three Janaki Cup and took away the trophy.

The event was renamed Martyr Memorial after Nepal Police gifted NFA a new trophy in 1954. Defending champions Nepal Police Club (NPC) are playing Boys Union Club in the opening match on Saturday.

In its history, only Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) and Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) have permanently owned the national league trophy winning three consecutive titles. RCT did so in the early 70s while MMC repeated the feat in the late 80s.

RCT and MMC are also the most successful teams in the national circuit winning the top league six times each while New Road Team have won it four times. Mahabir Club, Sankata Club and NPC have all won the event three times.

Deurali Club of Thamel and Annapurna Club, both of which are non-existent, won twice along with Three Star Club (TSC), this year´s strong contenders. Nepal Army, Bidya Byayam, Friends Union, Boys Union and Sunakhari Club too have won the event in the past.

This year, 12 teams -- NPC, TSC, MMC, RCT, NRT, Boys Union, Armed Police Force, Nepal Army Club, Machhindra Club, Jawalakhel Youth Club, Sankata and Friends Club -- are vying for the title and the prize money of Rs 20,00,000.

The total prize money for this year´s event to be played in double round robin league is Rs 4,250,000. In addition, top five players will receive a motorcycle each and the best player with a long contribution to football a car.

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