Football gets new leadership

  • The Karma Tsering Sherpa-led faction clean sweeps poll winning all 17 positions
The new leadership is seen as beginning of an end to the two-decade long stranglehold of disgraced former president Ganesh Thapa in the football governing body

May 6, 2018-Karma Tsering Sherpa has been elected the new president of the All Nepal Football Association (Anfa) as his panel clean swept the central committee election on Saturday in what could be an end to the stranglehold disgraced former president Ganesh Thapa have had in the country’s football governing body.

Sherpa, who had led a revolt against Thapa and his working ways that resulted in the latter’s 10-year Fifa ban from any football related activities, secured 63 against 12 votes of senior vice-president Mani Kunwar who on Friday had opted out of presidential race calling the election as illegitimate. Sherpa faction has won all 17 seats in the executive committee. Out of total 77 votes, Kanchanpur district did not cast, while the other one was invalid.

Kunwar is the brother-in-law to long serving Thapa who had led Nepali football with an iron fist for two decades. After Thapa was banned by world football governing body Fifa for 10 years on charges of corruption and financial irregularities in November, 2015, Narendra Shrestha was brought into the helm of Anfa in October, 2016. However, Nepali football was still said to have run under the influence of Thapa. In a public programme few months ago, Thapa had also attempted to influence the election claiming Sherpa was not the right candidate to run for Nepali football’s top post.

The Kunwar panel had even moved court on Wednesday seeking stay order against the election but the Kathmandu District Court paved way for the poll a day later ruling against imposing an interim stay order as demanded. The election, originally scheduled for January 25, was postponed four times on various pretexts in the last five months Sherpa, the unopposed Anfa vice-president for three term since 2003 to 2016 under Thapa, had promised to bring the ailing football back on track once he was elected. And on Saturday he said: “The delegates have voted to address all the agendas we have raised. Now it is time for us to work (for the betterment of football). We must make sure that we join hands with those who are defeated in the election,” said Sherpa who continuously raised voice against Thapa for the last four years and was even ousted from Anfa in 2016.

As a leader of Football Club Coordination Committee, he fought against Thapa claiming he was an autocrat, non-transparent and embezzled millions of rupees that Nepali football received at different time frame as international funds.

Thapa was even dragged to the Public Accounts Committee of Legislature Parliament which concluded that he was involved in financial irregularities of Rs 581.7 million and directed Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to carry separate investigations and take action.

Thapa, however, managed to get clean cheat from CIAA as the case was put on hold. During that time, Thapa was Constituent Assembly member from Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPP), a party led by his elder brother Kamal Thapa.

Sherpa, however, was once a close aide of Thapa before going against him. Sherpa also repeated his commitment to resume the ‘A’ Division League stalled since 2014-15 season. “The newly elected committee would not let players and the country down. We will hold an executive committee meeting on Monday and bring clarity at the policy level. Employee regulations, financial regulations among others will be drafted in three months,” said Sherpa. “We will create environment for players, coaches and other technical manpower to sustain through the game,” said Sherpa who also promised to start grassroot football programme in all 45 districts affiliated with Anfa within a year.

Sherpa panel’s Pankaj Bikram Nembang, the former member, secured highest 61 votes in vice presidential post. Former national team captain Upendra Man Singh (58), former national team coach Krishna Thapa (52) and former joint general secretary Bir Bahadur Khadka (39) were the other winners of the vice presidential post.

The executive committee will have four-year tenure. The first executive committee meeting on Monday will appoint a general secretary and a treasurer.

Published: 06-05-2018 08:51

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