Okay, the event’s a little old but still worth bringing up for its rich symbolism. By the time yours truly got into the jampacked stadium, the battle royale was already over, and the crowd was going euphoric with Nepal clinching a victory against an up-and-coming footballing nation in the neighbourhood. You see, there come in the not-so-eventful life of yours truly some important engagements that coincide with other equally important events. The fiddler high above had perhaps set the date of the battle royale with this important event to make an otherwise mundane life a little bit
Looking back, getting a ticket to the football finale was akin to winning a Mahabharata of sorts. It meant having faith in the online ticketing system that was down most of the time and trying desperately with fellow football fans to get those coveted seats at double the usual price to watch the home team play against a country finding perfect happiness after evicting more than a lakh of her citizens by committing atrocities against the hapless lot and driving many of them into suicide, under the watchful gaze of the international community, including the world’s
So, despite having fought frustration brewing against the system to get the ticket at a hefty price, watching the gem of the game was something that was not to be. The only solace was making it to the closing ceremony of the South Asian Games 2019 at its dying moments.
It felt good to cheer the home team with the rest of the crowd. Watching a kid dance and sing for Nepal was pure delight, so were occasional bursts of firecrackers and flashing of thousands of mobile phones in celebration. That day, Nepali fans showed to the rest of the world a decent soccer culture. Yours truly hopes this event will go a long way in projecting a positive image of Nepal to the outside world and making the Visit Nepal Year 2020 a
That day, even not-so-powerful speeches from members of the new aristocracy to the hoi polloi appeared tolerable. Even doubling of ticket prices
At one point, the audiovisual system failed and the head of the government could be seen and not heard on the giant screen. Even this glitch did not provoke the spectators, who were on cloud nine after the thin victory in the football finale, which was icing in the cake for Nepal that stood second in the overall
The show is over and it is time for some serious reflection, isn’t it? Let me take this opportunity to offer some humble suggestions to whoever in the high and the mighty club is listening: The government can do sports fans a huge favor by not hiking ticket prices at the 11th hour. It can win hearts and minds by making sincere efforts to control elements that want to make hay while the sun shines during
With a little bit of hard work, less talk and less focus on taking the credit for the successes, the government machinery can avoid minor glitches. You see, there was quite a rush to take the credit for organizing the great games successfully, but the organizers should also take the ‘credit’ for what went wrong.
For one, a sports journalist sustaining injuries in police action during the event will not send a positive message from Nepal to the world. Over time, let’s hope, Nepal will be able to organize international sporting events. There’s no reason why Nepal cannot be a great sporting destination. It has almost all that it takes to make it a great sporting destination, like pleasant weather and natural beauty. The focus now should now be on enhancing institutional capacity, building adequate sports infrastructure and investing more on the hospitality sector, to offer sports fans and sportspersons a home away from home.
Thinking over the euphoria and the bursts of joy at the stadium, those great fans of Team Nepal were looking for heroes in one more avenue of this country where political leaders of all hues have specialized in inflicting self-goals. For about three centuries, the Nepalis have been looking for heroes in politicos and disappointment is what successive generation has got, even after giving it all for this country. Never has a search for a hero, who would help bring a country back from the brink by putting national interests above all else, been so long and frustrating.