Saturday Features

This Cameroonian wanted to play football in the big leagues of Europe. Then he landed in Nepal.

Dec 29, 2018-

Like every Cameroonian kid, Norbert Cedric Aba had a dream to play football for a European club. Never had he imagined that he would end up in a different continent altogether and play football in one of the least known leagues in a country this far away.

Football is a popular sport all around the world and Nepal too hosts a professional platform with 14 clubs in its A-Division league. Every year in league season, a group of African football players travel to Nepal under contract with the top football clubs, and a work permit.

Aba first arrived in Nepal eight years ago. He currently plays for Sankata Boys Sports Club as a right-wing midfielder and is an integral part of the team. From the land of the indomitable lions, he has an undying spirit of hard work and a deep love for the game.

A typical day for Aba starts with a 45-minute bus ride from his apartment at Gairi Gaun to the training grounds, with his two fellow Cameroonian teammates. He has quickly adapted to the style of game played in Nepal. For the love of the game and the dedication towards it, he has devoted his life to football. While his dreams of playing for elite clubs fade with age, the football pitches in Kathmandu have become fertile ground for earning his livelihood as a football player.

In Nepal, Aba plays throughout the year in different tournaments. Although recently married in Cameroon, he is still waiting for his wife to visit him this January. For now, his Cameroonian teammates are his family in this foreign land. He recalls feeling alienated initially but with time he has been able to grasp his new reality and continue his pursuit of the game.

The ball must roll on.

Photos and text: Pramin Manandhar

This work was produced as a part of Kathmandu INSIDE: OUT 2018 Photography Masterclass.

Aba plays for Sankata Boys Sports Club. The club stood second in the 2018-19 Martyr's Memorial A-Division league.

Aba and his teammates give their best on the training grounds and always listen to their coach.

Though people stare at them on the streets, Abs still faces them with a smile.

Alongside his teammates, Aba is an integral part of the team.

Aba is close to his landlord and loves to play with his granddaughter.

Aba shares his room with four other Cameroonian players who also play football.

The training turf is not suitable to roll the ball but the team manages a quality play.

Aba can switch from right wing to left wing and even play the position of a striker.

Sankata the club is named after a god who is believed to ward off bad luck and sickness.

Aba, along with his teammates, always checks-in at his club to cool off.

Aba recently got married and wishes to see his wife soon.

Published: 29-12-2018 09:08

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