Young footballers can bring big changes in Nepal’s football: Bal Gopal Maharjan
Our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI: The head coach of Nepal Senior soccer team Bal Gopal Maharjan is now in the city to participate in the 5th Veterans soccer tournament which was organized by the United Brothers club. Maharjan, who scored a goal in his team’s victory against Kokrajhar outfit today, was a successful Nepali footballer in his days. He also turned out for two foreign clubs -Brothers Union in Bangladesh and Mahindra United in India. The former striker was also associated with Brothers Union as a coach and became the first Nepali to coach a top tier football club in another country. In an interaction with The Sentinel on Saturday he highlighted present scenario of football in Nepal and future plans. Here is the excerpt.
TS: Tell us about present scenario of football in Nepal.
We are sincerely working to develop soccer in our country. Our prime target is to improve our position in Asian level. It will take little time but I am sure you will notice good soccer from our team in the international arena as our young players are capable to bring big changes in Nepal’s football.
TS: Once you were near 200 in FIFA ranking but now the situation changed (161 in latest FIFA ranking). How the progress is possible.
Actually for the last four-five years we have been working hard to provide sufficient attention to the soccer in grassroots level. We arranged several talent search programmes and spotted nearly 40-50 young players. Federation made good training facilities and exposure tour to them. This planning is started to give result. In the recent past we have won a couple of tournaments in the senior level which included a gold medal in SAF Games hosted by Guwahati in 2016.
TS: What about the present soccer infrastructure in Nepal?
Definitely we are lagging behind in this area. We have very few stadiums which can be used for different football related programmes. After the devastating earthquake the situation was worst but now it has changed. However I still feel we need more infrastructures to implement our planning in better way.
TS: What role the National Football Federation is playing to develop the game?
Earlier I mentioned you that federation giving us good support to develop the game in the grassroots level. We have already made good progress in the junior level and even won 2015 SAFF U-19 Championship. Our federation is also planning to play more international friendly which can help our young players.
TS: You have the experience to play in India. Have you noticed any difference in Indian soccer between your days and current period?
India made good progress in last one decade or more. Now you have good infrastructures of this game, many big level soccer tournaments… everything which can really help to take the game to the next level.
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