In July 2018, reports of Bimal Garti Magar and his teammates from the national football squad left their closed camp to go to a club went viral. Bored of their time in the camp, Magar along with fellow youngsters Bishal Rai, Anjan Bista, Chirring Gurung and Hemanta Thapa Magar went out from the camp and came back late at night intoxicated.
The incident happened two weeks before the team was to go play at the Asian Games in Indonesia. ANFA took little to no action and all players went on to play both the 2018 Asian games and the SAFF Championship.
For someone who joined the ANFA academy the age of 11, Rohit Chand feels that this isn’t anything new. Recently back from Indonesia, he believes that the young players in Nepal don’t take football seriously. “Some get to the national team and feel that they have achieved it all. There seems to be no determination to work hard and get to the top,” he says.
Football has changed a lot in the past decade. Players from the new generation are different compared to those from the olde times. “ANFA should start treating these kids differently,” he adds.
“The players don’t know the importance of discipline. Even though we are taught to behave from a young age, we still don’t follow it up regularly and that is the player’s fault. This is why ANFA needs to do more to make them aware of the importance of discipline.”
Chand adds that the domestic structure doesn’t help the player’s cause. “It’s really easy to put the blame on ANFA and say that they haven’t provided facilities and so on. But the players need to take a hard look at themselves and ask themselves if they want to take football seriously”.
Chand further adds that the lack of focus means that the players don’t eat well nor do they sleep on time. “All these factors are important to get better. In Indonesia, the players are dedicated to their cause. It motivates me a lot. It pushes me to work hard,” adds Chand, who was recently voted Indonesian League’s Most Valuable Player after his team Perija Jakarta’s league triumph.
“If I had stayed happy after entering the national team I wouldn’t have achieved this feat. I wanted to achieve more in my career which is why left Nepal and played in Indonesia, Malaysia, and India. I wanted to test myself which is a key part in developing as a player.”
He shares that most young players in Nepal are comfortable with what they have and believes that comfort zone kills development.
Talking about the incident in July, Chand shares that they boys were quite lucky. “This was an avoidable incident the players need to learn how to behave. I think they will not repeat this mistake again,” he says.