Poor management comes under fire

- PRAJWAL OLI, BIRATNAGAR

Mar 15, 2019-

Poor management and technical shortcoming headlined the SAFF Women’s Championship the first days of the biennial football tournament in Biratnagar which kicked off on Tuesday.

It took centre stage even before the tournament started, prompting Bhutan’s Korean coach Sung Jea Lee to vent ire on local organisers All Nepal Football Association (ANFA). Lee said they were forced to shift hotel due to disturbance in hotel on Monday, a day before they were scheduled to take on hosts Nepal. “This is the top level international tournament of the region (South Asian). They are entitled to get top facilities,” said Lee on Thursday. After losing 3-0 to the hosts on Tuesday, Bhutan coach said his team spent the whole day searching for a proper hotel instead to warming up for the game the day before. He said it largely contributed to his team’s dismal performance on the pitch. “I had never gone through such experience in my coaching career,” said Lee.

To add to the frustration of the Bhutanese team, the inaugural match was delayed by almost 15 minutes thanks to speeches of “high-level dignitaries and guest.” Four individuals including ANFA President Karma Tsering Sherpa, Nepal Communist Party Co-Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal among others delivered speeches forcing the match to be delayed. Nepal now risks at least $3,000 fine from Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for delaying kickoff time.

In another case of carelessness the same day, Nepal’s physical trainer Bivek Bikrant Adhikari was forced to take a seat in parapet instead of players box. As per the international rule, only six officials besides 20 players are permitted to the players box. But his seat was occupied by Pema Lama, head of delegation of Nepali team, who is the coordinator of the ANFA Women’s Committee and an executive member. Lama should have been at the VIP zone but used his misused his authority to be in the players’ dugout.

The second day of the tournament on Wednesday India and Maldives lined up for the national anthem. But the organisers could not play the national anthem of Maldives through sound systems citing technical reasons. Instead some of the Maldives players were handed over microphones to sing the anthem themselves. But FIFA and Indian national anthem went on as international practice, played though the sound systems.

The tournament’s local general coordinator Madhu Sudhan Upadhyaya accepted that some technical glitches did occur but they were trying to make sure such incidents do not occur again. “But we should also into consideration that the tournament of this magnitude is being held outside the capital for the first time and it is obvious to have some lapses,” said Upadhyaya. “It is not easy to manage a tournament in Biratnagar where we lack proper logistics,” he said adding that each of the participating teams were provided with the best available accommodations.   

As for the Adhikari case, Upadhyaya defended by saying it was the coach and manager who decide official entourage for the dugout. Upadhyaya was anticipating at least AFC warning if not for fines for the delayed kick off in the inaugural match. Upadhyaya said they had hired the best sound systems but it gave way in the time of need. “The tournament is a matter of pride for us and we are trying out best to make it a success.”

Published: 15-03-2019 11:49

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