Mofussil football struggling to survive for want of budget

The country has lately generated a buzz in sports with many people getting attracted seeking better future in the sector. It has in recent times achieved much progress with much national and international recognition.

Football is one of the games where the country has done very well. On the contrary, many football fields especially in the mofussil (far-flung places outside the capital) including in Morang district (Koshi Province) are turning into pastures for grazing cattle without efforts and budget to promote football.

There is a lack of investment, sports equipment and training sessions and coaches for the development of football in mofussil, said Shankar Subedi, the football coach of Belbari, Morang. The state is focused on only Kathmandu, the federal capital, with large investments being poured into the sport when it comes to the development of the sport, he said.

Players have been discouraged due to apathy of the state toward football outside Kathmandu, he complained. “Budget allocated by the federal government does not reach Belbari.

We are organising sport events with funds collected at the local level,” he said. There are three football clubs operating in Belbari.

Despite limited resources, efforts are on in mofussil to produce qualified players. Many tournaments have been held from where many qualified players have been produced, he said. Rajin Dhimal Aashish Chaudhary and Bikas Khawas are the products from Morang who are a part of the national team.

Bibek Paudel and Anjan Rai of Belbari have been selected for the national team. Sanjib Budhathoki, president of the Morang district football association, said football tournaments were being oranised in coordination with the local football clubs and the local levels.

“We are unable to provide enough sports equipment for players as the district football association is suffering from economic problems,” he said.

Bikram Limbu, who coaches junior football players at the sport ground in Bhaunne, viewed that it would be difficult in producing qualified players due to a lack of sports equipment.

Limbu, who played from famous football clubs including Machhindra Club, Jawalakhel Club and Chyasal Club, demanded that budget that has been concentrated in the federal capital be distributed to mofussil as well.

There are three football clubs operating in Belbari area, the newly opened Dangihat Youth Club, Dangihat Football Club, Belbari Club and Ambriyo Yuwa Club. They were facing problems in organising the 6th Gold Cup for want of budget and required resources, said Bikram Bantawa Rai, Chairperson of the Dangihat Football Club.

The Club so far successfully organised five Gold Cup tournaments in the football ground of the local Laxmi Secondary School. Now, it is at work to hold the Cup. The football field at Laxmi Marga of Belbari-11 is operating with financial assistances from local people and the football lovers who are in foreign countries, he said.

Many foot tournaments including Province 1 level women’s football and the district level PABSON and N-PABSON tournaments have been organised in the football ground.

Established in 2066 BS, the Dangihat Football Club has been able to leave its imprint in the football sector in mofussil with its progress in a short span of time. One decade back, a match between the national team and Morang-11 took place.

In the course of 13 years of its establishment, it has won titles of around 50 football tournaments held in Panchthar, Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts, said the Club.

There are many other football clubs operating in the district. They include Urlabari Football Club, Urlabari, Samrat Sporting Club, United Youth Club, Motiram Sporting Club, Nawa Pragatisheel Samajsewa Club, Jahada, Haraicha Sporting Club, Haraicha, Chartare Yuwa Club, Letang, Saino Sporting Club, Rani Yuwa Club, Tribeni Yuwa Club, Ramailo Yuwa Pariwar, said football coach Suman Shrestha.

“The sport quality will be raised once the sport gets enough budget to purchase football equipment and provide training,” he said.

Last year, the total 4 million was collected to organise the Budhasubba Gold Cup in Dharan (Rs 300,000 from the National Sports Council, Rs 1 million from the provincial government, Rs 1.2 million from Dharan Sub Metropolitan City and Rs 1.5 million from all wards of the sub metropolis).

Similarly, a total of Rs 2.9 million was collected to organise the Birat Gold Cup in Biratnagar (Rs 500,000 from the NSC, Rs 1.2 million from the provincial government and Rs 1.2 million from Biratnagar Metropolitan City), said Deputy General Secretary of the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA)Basanta Aryal.

Also, the provincial government provided Rs 1 million to organise the Birtamod Gold Cup in Jhapa.

Only big football tournaments have been able to draw funds from the state, he said. A training session is being held in Biratnagar on a regular basis. But it lacks budget. They are covering the expenses for the training by charging each trainee Rs 300 a month, he said.

Last year, Belbari Municipality provided Rs 2.5 million to organise the Dangihat International Invitation Gold Cup in Belbari, said the municipality mayor Dil Prasad Rai.

It will be difficult to organise any sports events in the days to come if the provincial government does not provide enough budget through the Koshi Province Sports Development Board, said Hamsha Raj Wagle, the Board member secretary.

Of Rs 810 million demanded for sports, only Rs 230 million was allocated, out of which Rs 180 million was transferred to local levels through the Ministry of Social Development without coordination with the Board, he alleged.

Last year, the Board provided Rs 15 million to organise five big football tournaments and some other small ones. But this year, it has allocated only Rs 4 million due to a lack of budget, he said.

In the situation when mofussil football is struggling to survive, the local levels should pay attention and be effortful in sustaining the sport, said Budhathoki, adding that the local levels should increase investment in mofussil football. The financially poor association has been unable to provide sports equipment, he said.

They are so far sustaining football with the savings from organising big tournaments, said Santosh Baniya, Chair of the Birat Gold Cup.



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