The hope that football has awakened.


Footbsll, one of the most popular sports in the world. The history of football, which is the choice of most people, can be traced back to France in the 13th century. But modern football started in the 1860s in England. In Nepal, history of entry in 1970 Bikram Samvat (BS). The work of institutionalizing football in Nepal was done by Narashamsher Rana. All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) was also established in 1951 AD when competitions were organized at the local level.

With the establishment of ANFA, Nepal also got a national team and played its first international tournament in 1963 AD – in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Even though Nepal’s national team was formed in 1951 AD,  Rudi Gutendorf  from West Germany was brought as the first coach in 1981 AD. Since then, Nepali football has traveled a long way and is now under the control of Kuwaiti coach Abdullah Al Mutairi.

Recently, Nepal played FIFA World Cup-2022, Qatar and AFC Asian Cup-2023, China qualifiers. The home league matches scheduled for Dasharath Stadium were shifted to neutral venue Kuwait due to the Coronavirus epidemic. Even though Nepal is out of the World Cup qualification by finishing fourth in its group, the hope of qualifying for the Asian Cup is still alive.

Nepal had managed to win everyone’s hearts by playing aggressive football by abandoning the defensive game in the friendly against Iraq and in the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers in Kuwait. This was the first tournament of Abdullah Al Mutairi, who entered as a coach of Nepal. He proved to be excellent in the very first competition and managed to garner a lot of praise. Earlier, there was talk of Graham Roberts joining the coach in 2011 AD. Under his coach, Nepal reached the semi-finals of the SAFF Championship and was selected for the AFC Challenge Cup.

In 2012 AD, Roberts resigned after Nepal lost all the group stage matches in the AFC Challenge Cup held at home (tenure of about one year). Under his training, Nepal reached the second stage of the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup for the first time. After that there were many ups and downs in Nepali football. 5 players including the then captain of the national team Sagar Thapa, vice-captain Sandeep Rai were arrested on charges of match fixing. ANFA President Ganesh Thapa was also involved in the match fixing case.

But in 2016 AD, the Nepali senior national team won two consecutive tournaments –  Bangabandhu Gold Cup and Solidarity Cup (the U-23 national team also won the South Asian Games – SAG GOLD). Since then, Nepal’s performance in senior international competitions has not been satisfactory. Despite winning the title of the Three-Nations Cup held in Nepal last March, the performance was not very remarkable. The latest performance in the World Cup qualifiers has raised a lot of expectations from coach Almutairi.

Who is Abdullah Al Mutairi?

Full Name, Abdullah Al Mutairi is the forty-ninth coach for Nepal and the first of Arabic origin. He is an AFC Coaching Instructor of Professional Football and an AFC Pro-Licence Holder. He came to handle the training of the Nepali national football team, rejecting the attractive offer of Turkmenistan with the help of the Qatar Football Association. It is agreed that he will train the Nepali team for one year.
Earlier, he coached Al Shahani Football Club’s Under-23 team in Qatar and Kyrgyzstan’s Under-17 team.
Al Mutairi prefers to play aggressive football despite not having long training in international football and great experience in playing life. He is also very active on social media. They keep writing enticing statuses to calm Nepali football fans. Having collected enough information about Nepali players and Nepal before coming to Nepal, he has not only attracted the attention of the common Nepali football lovers, and has also lit a big lamp of hope.
He has added positive energy to the Nepali fans by making the issue of player selection very transparent. He has the whole reason why players are not selected. Until now, no coach in Nepal had been able to speak openly about player selection. Coach Abdullah Al Mutairi, who became more popular among Nepalese with the slogan ‘One Team, Jai Nepal’, emphasizes the fitness and discipline of the players.

Nepali football in modern direction:

Coach Abdullah Al Mutairi took the 23-member team to Kuwait to play the World Cup Qualifiers with six new faces. Almutairi, who received some criticism for taking a bold step in the selection of players, said that he had built the team with a long-term plan and proved it to some extent from the match in Kuwait. The new players put up a great performance. In Kuwait, Nepal followed an aggressive style of football. In modern football there is a lot of attacking. If we look at the previous matches played by Nepal against big teams, it is seen that from the beginning, the game was presented by adopting a very defensive strategy.

The first international tournament played by Nepal after Abdullah took charge of Nepali team training was a friendly match against Iraq. In the first friendly match, Nepal’s home team lost to Iraq by 6-2. After leading 2-1 for the first 38 minutes, Nepal went on to score five goals. However, even though they lost to Iraq by a big goal difference, the Nepali team full of young members has improved in their game.

Even though they were defeated by Iraq, that game gave some hope to the Nepali team and the confidence of the players increased. The performance of Nepali players in the match against Chinese Taipei in the second round of the FIFA World Cup-2022 and Asian Cup-2023 qualifiers showed that the team has improved compared to the past. They managed to defeat Taipei, which is ranked 30th higher than themselves in the FIFA ranking, with a 2-0 goal difference. Nepal defeated Taipei for the second time in the group stage. Earlier, Nepal defeated Taipei by 2-0 goal difference.

In the second match against Jordan, Nepal could not continue as in the previous match. Nepal lost 3-0 against Jordan. From the beginning of the first half, Jordan played aggressively. Nepal’s performance against Jordan was satisfactory despite the 42 degree temperature at the Jabar Al Ahmed International Stadium in Kuwait. In the FIFA ranking, Jordan is 76th higher than Nepal.

Nepal played the last match of the qualifying round against Australia. In that match too, Nepal was defeated by 3-0 goal difference. After Rohit Chand got red carded in the 45th minute, the performance of the Nepali team limited to ten players against Australia was not bad. When he got the chance, he emphasized on counter attack. Australia is ranked 41st in FIFA ranking while Nepal is ranked 171st.

Nepal’s performance against a much higher level team than itself was memorable. If they continue this aggressive style while correcting the mistakes made during the World Cup Qualifiers in Kuwait, Nepal can reach a higher level that has not been seen so far. Nepali team is dominated by young players. Now there are some new experiments in Nepali football, due to which the base of a strong team is being prepared. Youth team Jamaat’s performance in Kuwait also proves the same.

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