(All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) is electing its new executive body during its convention being held in the first week of Ashad. Incumbent chairman of ANFA Karma Tshering is eying for the second term during the upcoming election. Karma was elected as the President of ANFA in May 2018. Here are excerpts from an encounter with ANFA President Sherpa by The Nepal Weekly regarding upcoming election of the ANFA and the current situation of football game in Nepal.)
The Nepal Weekly: Would you shed light on the current situation of football game in Nepal. What are the activities being carried out by ANFA at the moment?
Karma Tshering: As you know that all the sports activities were halted during the past two and a half year due to the outbreak of Covid – 19, which made it very difficult to continue the activities related to the football game. We don’t have international standard football ground or stadiums in Nepal. That’s the reason why we are facing problem even in organizing football leagues. The recently concluded football league was the third series. We could not organize league for one year due to the pandemic. Therefore, during my tenure we have been able to organize only three football leagues. Now, after the Covid – 19 cases have dropped, we have recently intensified the activities related to football game. We have also been able to organize international events. In the women’s front we have succeeded in grabbing three Runner-up titles in international events. Now we have already started new women’s league. Now we have been able to conduct capacity building coaching and convention courses within the country itself. Now we have been focusing our attention towards education part by developing football fellowship curriculum. We have also started grass root football by involving children aged between 6 and 12 in football games. Every year we have involved more than 70,000 children in football activities. Now our target is to further increase the participation of the children in football and we are also launching programmes accordingly. We have also started youth programmes, youth academy as well as women’s academy for the promotion of football game. There are already 12 academies in operation for the promotion of football. In Pokhara we have already built a large multi-purpose training centre which is capable to impart training to coaches, referee and produce technical manpower as well.
TNW: How is the participation of women in football game in Nepal at present?
Karma Tshering: I think, now a days women’s participation has increased in football game in Nepal. At present there are eight A Division Clubs belonging to women footballers in the country. Women’s city championship has already begun. In the past there were very few women football players. Now there are 31 women’s teams in Deputy Mayor National Tournament.
TNW: Is it possible to make a living by playing football in Nepal?
Karma Tshering: Those playing football under A Division are able to make a living from the sport. B Division players are also earning good amount of money. Football is the only sport in Nepal that can earn living. Therefore, football has become popular among youths in Nepal. Football players can make lots of money during Leagues. During football leagues a single player can earn one or two lakh per month. Therefore, football leagues should be organized frequently.
TNW: Are there many business houses who sponsor football tournaments in Nepal ?
Karma Tshering : At present there are many business houses who sponsor football tournaments in Nepal. What is required is to improve the government’s policy towards sports. The government should formulate an open policy on tax exemptions and Corporate Social Responsibility towards sports. The field of sports could be supported by levying sports tax on tobacco and alcohol. It will help promote health of citizens as they are encouraged to participate in sports. If the Ministry of Sports allocates separate budget for football, it will help in developing the sport, as we need not ask the government for budget from time to time.
TNW: What are the major accomplishments of your four-year tenure?
Karma Tshering: Nepal has secured second position in the last South Asian Game. This is something that has never happened before. Nepal has won a gold medal in the South Asian Games after 35 years. During the women’s international tournament, women players have become runner-ups in three games. Nepalese women have entered the second round in Olympic Qualifying Game. Nepal has entered the second round of AFC Youth 2019. In this way Nepalese players have got opportunity in capacity building. There are opportunities for participating in coaching courses within the country. Referee courses can also be done in Nepal. In this way, we have achieved many things, which I cannot share in this short interview period.
TNW: As you are contesting for the presidentship of ANFA for the second term, what are your future plans?
Karma Tshering: My main aim is to economically empower and commercialize football game. This includes strengthening the administration part, implementing financial transparency, and streamlining administration and governance. My priority is to make clubs economically sustainable and to make them financially strong. Players can get good remuneration only if the club or district becomes successful. At the initial stage we need to perform the task of making the club financially sustainable. In addition to this we need to commercialize clubs, Now I will dedicate myself to develop a culture of issuing shares for financial independence of clubs instead of relying on donations for its survival.