The resurgence of Attariya

- Binod Pandey, Dhangadhi

Feb 10, 2019-

CYC Attariya President Nar Bahadur Rai still remembers the energy he possessed while splashing cash to rope in Gyanendra Malla, Karan KC and Yogendra Singh Karki in the Dhangadhi Premier League auction three years ago. That energy from DPL’s first edition was hardly visible afterwards until the club started breathing new life.

The community club that runs through fund was already into financial trouble. Rai had to struggle a lot to accumulate fund after he returned to Dhangadhi from that auction in Kathmandu. “We raised flag to get some big players on a maximum bid price but we had no idea how we were going to pay them,” said Rai.

The financial difficulties remained intact for Attariya in the second edition. Five out of six DPL franchises kept their players in the hotels in Dhangadhi. But a sponsor-less Attariya had to keep their players at their own locality as they could not afford to pay hotel bills. The wait then was only of an official decision from the club declaring they are out from the DPL race.

Rai was an absentee in the auction for the third edition this year. Club vice-president Sharmanand Bhatt, member Anup Bhandari, manager Rajat Shahi, director Shashank Pokhrel and Abhishek KC had taken over their auction table. After Sports-Ed and Himalayan White House acquired 33 percent stakes each, Pokhrel and KC were added to the team.

It was Sports-Ed which joined hands with Nepal Sports School to bring South African fielding legend Jhonty Rhodes and his compatriot Ryan Maron for a 10-day training in Kathmandu. Rhodes is now the mentor of Attariya and Maron the coach. Rhodes is also the goodwill ambassador of the DPL.

Sports-Ed carries a slogan “Making a Difference” and Attariya franchise is its first entity to run according to the tagline. Rhodes has the same desire because he says he is tired of becoming coach and mentor of different franchise in different countries.

“If someone comes forward to bring change, I would be happy to work at the community level,” Rhodes said during a press conference on Friday. When Rhodes came to Nepal for the first time, he trained Nepali U-19 and other aspiring kids at the TU Stadium. He then set forth for Annapurna trekking circuit and soon expressed his desire to serve at community level to Dhangadhi Cricket Academy President Subash Shahi and KC, who associated the South African with Attariya.

“The stature that Jhonty has as a cricketer, he could have got associated with any team. Attariya is a community club and so we decided to join hands with it,” said KC who has invested in the club through Sports-Ed. “Jhonty and Ryan will set up cricket camp in the schools in Attariya. Although DPL looks a bit commercial, they motivate those people who serve the community.”

It could be too early to reveal but KC said they have plans to start an academy in Attariya. To materialise this plan, they are looking forward to connect the planned-academy with an academy in South African city of Cape Town through Rhodes and Maron. “Attariya were involved in other activities beside sports but its cricket that has exposed them well,” said KC.

In papers, Attariya are the weakest side in the third edition of DPL. They have Dipendra Singh Airee as the strategic player and consists of Sandeep Jora, Bhuwan Karki, Subhendu Pandey, Ramnaresh Giri and Prem Tamang. They will pin their hopes on Indian duo of Sunny Patel and Jaykishan Kolsawala who have done well in Nepali domestic franchise leagues.

The young players in the Attariya squad are yet to make a name for themselves in Nepal but have managed to get into the team following an advice from Rhodes and Maron. “There was high possibility that the young players would go unsold but they were the players watched closely by Jhonty and Maron during their camp in Kathmandu. So we told them to register themselves for the auction,” informed KC adding they have a long term plan with the young cricketers.

But there will be a lot for the new stakeholders of the club to ponder on as Jhonty is currently in a brief stint with Attariya. KC has the answer post DPL. “A personality like Jhonty joining the DPL is a big thing for Nepali cricket and so is with Attariya. We all are excited with his arrival,” he said. “Our boys underwent physical training at a futsal ground today (on Saturday). The fitness level of a 50-year old Jhonty is at par with them. This will push them to work even harder. This is the impact Jhonty would make on young cricketers,” KC added.

A club which was about to perish because of financial difficulties has turned around completely. Rai’s energy level was back at its best when he signed a title sponsorship deal with Himalayan White House on Friday. “I think we have a balanced team now and the arrival of two South African has definitely brought a lot of excitement on us,” Rai said.

Published: 10-02-2019 09:35

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