Samir Tamang: The new energy of Nepali football  

Samir Tamang
Samir Tamang

Samir Tamang, 19, a native of Bara, Nijgadh used to play cricket during school days. He was a wicket-keeper then. Later, he played football and initially, he was a goalkeeper. 

After sustaining a hand injury while being a goalkeeper, he changed his position to forward. Moreover, on March 21 Tamang completed his dream of playing for Nepal during a match against Bahrain in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

“I always dreamt of playing for Nepal and in that regard, the debut game was special for me,” says Tamang, “At that moment, I remembered many people, especially my mother.” 

After substituting for Hisub Thapaliya in 88 minutes of the game, Tamang got a chance to debut for the national team in Bahrain National Stadium, Riffa. He only played for 10 minutes. Replacing Thapa in 88 minutes, Sanjib Bista also debuted in the national team. 

Although he just played for 10 minutes, the 19-year-old footballer does not consider it a small achievement.  

Selected differently

“I never thought I would debut this early,” he says to Onlinekhabar, “Bahrain is a strong opponent, and to get a chance to play with such an opponent gives extra excitement and energy.”

Tamang plays a fast game, he puts pressure on the defenders of the opponent team.

Earlier, Tamang played for the U20 national team. However, he has not played in any domestic league. The domestic league is considered as the backbone of football. Due to the lack of regular leagues, some players have been into the national team differently. Tamang is one of those. 

“Coaches select players based on their performance in league games, but in my case things were different,” says Tamang. In last year’s February, during the U20 SAFF Championship Tamang scored 3 goals and became the top scorer. 

Tamang was selected from district, provincial and central level selection for the U-20 national team and was included in the list of the final 23. He proved himself after the selection. 

In the group stage against Sri Lanka, Nepal won by 4-1, where Tamang scored two goals. In the semi-final, while Nepal was losing with one goal, Tamang equalised the match. However, Nepal lost the match in a penalty shoot-out and could not make it to the finals. 

With that match, he gained the experience of playing international matches on home ground. “The energy level is different while playing on the home ground,” says Tamang. After performing well in the U20 team, Tamang was selected for the close camp of a national team. However, due to the injury, he could not join the close camp. 

In January, Tamang played for Church Boys United in the Aaha Rara Gold Cup, making a debut in the domestic league. In the league, he scored against Nepal Police Club and Tribhuvan Army Club. On February 10, when Nepal’s U23 team played against China’s Qinghai Football Club at Dasarath Stadium, Tamang was also in the team who scored two goals. 

Afterwards, he was selected for a team to play against Bahrain. Before playing against Bahrain, Nepal played a practice match against Malaysia on March 15. In that match, Tamang, who entered the ground as a substitute player, scored a goal. Nepal lost the match 4-1. 

Football over studies

Samirt Tamang
Samir Tamang caught in action

Tamang was more interested in football rather than in studies. He dropped out of education after starting to play football. He even got support from his family for his interest in football. He has played several local-level football matches. One day he learned about the selection for SAFF U20 and participated in it. 

After completing district-level selection in Jitpur, Simara, he went to Sarlahi for provincial-level selection. Finally, for the national-level selection, he came to Kathmandu. Then he was selected for the final squad of the U20 SAFF Championship. 

Although he had a good pace in the game, there was a weakness in his finishing. After getting selected in the U20 team, he practised a lot to improve his finishing. As a result, he scored three goals in the U20 SAFF Championship. 

A long way to go

Samir Tamang says that there are more challenges ahead. “My career has just begun,” he says. “I can do better if I continue doing hard work.”

He wants to win a trophy for Nepal. He loves the game of Anjan Bista, the highest goal scorer of Nepal. “I also had a dream to be like Anjan Bista,” says Tamang. “Now we both play together for the national team. It is like a dream come true.”

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Nepal is a sports correspondent for Onlinekhabar.

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