KATHMANDU, May 24: Koilapani Polestar, the only team from outside the Kathmandu Valley in the history of the Martyrs Memorial A Division Football League, is hard hit by financial crunches. Despite creating a history, the Nawalparasi-based Koilapani is having a hard time at the top-flight league due to ever increasing expenses.
“We are badly hit by financial crisis,” club president Bishnu Adhikari said. “We have sought support from corporate houses, but none have come forward so far.”
Despite submitting their proposal for sponsorship to major corporate houses of the country, some with factories in Nawalparasi, they have yet to get positive response.
Like many other football clubs, Koilapani does not have a permanent income source. “We collected Rs 1.5 million for the recent tournament from individual donors,” treasurer and manager Tara Prasad Bhusal said. Frequent strikes, which forced the organizer All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) to reschedule matches, have aggravated the club´s woes.
“We are forced to consider pulling out of the tournament every other day,” said Bhusal who claimed that the club is providing salary to 17 among 22 registered players during league.
“The sunday´s strike forced the postponement of matches for the fifth time,” Adhikari said, adding, “The daily expense of the team living in the capital is Rs 7,000.”
“If it continues, we will have no other option but to pull out from the tournament,” he added. “Our aim, however, is to play all the matches and stay on top flight league.”
Koilapani squad is sheltered at the Chyasal Hostel of the ANFA Technical Center. They also expressed dissatisfaction with the facilities provided. “The hostel does not even meet the minimum requirements for staying,” frustrated manager Bhusal said. “We don´t have the budget to afford accommodation in a better hotel.”
The hostel lacks beds and drinking water facilities. “We have to collect water from a nearby well and sleep on the floor,” Bhusal said. “We requested ANFA for better facilities but they have turned deaf ear so far.”
The team consists of 10 players from Nawalparasi, five from Rupandehi and seven from PLA Sports Club. Sajan Shrestha is the only member in the squad with previous experience of playing at the Dasharath Stadium.
Club president Adhikari also accused ANFA and match officials of biased behavior toward the low ranking teams. “ANFA maintains double standard toward small clubs. This will hinder football´s development,” he said. “The referees are also unfair with us on occasions.”
“Despite all these hindrances, the club is trying to play good football and remain in the top flight,” Adhikari said. “We want to leave the message that other teams of the districts are also capable of playing top flight football.”
He also held other A Division clubs responsible for the sorry state of smaller clubs. “We asked ANFA to increase the preparation money given to every club, but the so-called big clubs insisted on increasing prize money. The decisions was harsh decision on upcoming teams like ours,” said Adhikari.