29 Manseer, Pokhara. The Pokhara stadium was hot in Mophasal’s famous ‘Aha Rara Gold Cup’ when Manang Mersangadi Club was playing.
Manang, who dominated the national games in Kathmandu, was an undeclared ‘home team’ for Pokhara and Pokhara was his ‘home’ for the club.
Manang has named Pokhara Stadium as his ‘home ground’ for this year’s Martyrs’ Memorial A Division League and Manang’s three matches in the league will be played in Pokhara.
In a press conference in Pokhara on Wednesday, club member Vijay Ghale said that the plan to make football nationwide started from Pokhara. “ANFA has been planning to make the league nationwide from the very beginning. We have come to Pokhara to make the plan come true, so why not start it,” said Ghale.
Ghale says that the club also has a large fan base in Pokhara and will also get a lot of support at Pokhara’s home ground. Pokhara is the sports capital for us. We have a huge fan following here too,’ he said, adding, ‘We hope the players will get more inspiration from the supporters once Pokhara becomes their home ground.’
Rajiv Gurung ‘Deepak Manange’, who had worked for a long time in Manang Mersiangdi Club, is now Gandaki’s sports minister.
Now Manang will play against Nepal Police Club at Pokhara Stadium next Saturday. Players of both the clubs have reached Pokhara on Wednesday. Manang will then play against Brigade Boys Club in Pokhara on 3 December and Castle on 7 December.
Shaheed Smarak A Division League is being played outside the Valley for the first time. League director Sanjeev Mishra says that the league game will be based on ‘Home and Away’ in Nepal in the coming days.
Speaking at a press conference in Pokhara on Wednesday, he said, it is not a home-away-from-home concept at all. But it could be a start for the future.”
Mishra said that if Manang bears the full financial burden of running the league in Pokhara by making the Pokhara Stadium his home ground, other clubs will soon be able to play the league in Nepal under the ‘home and away’ system. “Right now, ANFA has to bear the heavy financial burden working away from home. But, for this all clubs have to agree,’ he said.
According to Mishra, the director of the league, ANFA’s plan to make the league nationwide started from Pokhara. “We have a plan to take the league from Mechi to Mahakali. In a few years there will be leagues in other parts of the country as well. It will allow everyone to take ownership of the league,’ he said.
Vice President Upendraman Singh claimed that ANFA has left no stone unturned to make the A Division league organized and grand. “We have been running the league in Kathmandu in a grand and orderly manner since the past. We plan to do the same in Pokhara,’ he said.