NSL Kicks Off Today Behind Closed Door

The maiden edition of the franchise football Nepal Super League (NSL) is all set to kick off from Saturday at Dashrath Stadium behind closed doors due to the COVID-19. 

Kathmandu Rayzrs FC will take on Lalitpur City FC in the inaugural match of the much-awaited franchise league on Saturday evening. 

CEO Sudeep Sharma on Friday informed the title winner of the event will bag a cash prize of Rs. 3.5 million while the second position will receive Rs. 1.5 million. The Best forward, Mid-fielder, Defender, Goalie and Best Coach will receive Rs. 100,000 each.

According to the host, if any player from the final squad gets infected with COVID-19, the team will directly buy a new player from the unsold category. 

The franchise football league will be held strictly following the COVID-19 health protocol. The league director Shreyans Karki informed that they are going to organise the event under a closed-door after consultation with the government. “Despite COVID-19 spike, we are ready to host the league as a huge amount of money has already invested from the clubs.”

Kathmandu Rayzrs FC, Lalitpur FC, Pokhara Thunders, FC Chitwan, Biratnagar FC, Butwal Lumbini FC and Dhangadhi FC are vying for the first title of the franchise league.

‘Not enough time’

All the coaches of the participating team complained about not having enough time to prepare for the tourney.

Kathmandu Rayzrs Coach Bal Gopal Maharjan said due to the short period his team could not prepare well. “Though we could not prepare well, my team will be eying the title displaying a remarkable performance.” 

Skipper Bikesh Kuthu said all of his teammates are fit and fine. Lalitpur FC Coach Pradeep Humagain said his boys are eagerly waiting for the first outing against Kathmandu. Lalitpur’s Captain Anjan Bista said that they have a perfect team combination and fully prepared for the Saturday clash.

Pokhara Thunders Assistant Coach Rajesh Shahi said his players are training well at the ground of Pokhara for the last ten days. “Had we got a month-long time, the training would have been even better,” said Shahi.

Dhangadhi FC’s head coach Yugal Kishore Rai also complained about the short period for the preparation. “Some of our players are busy at gold cup tourneys and some players from the Tribhuvan Army Football Club playing in AFC Cup affected us.”

Dhangadhi FC captain Kiran Kumar Limbu said his players “are pleased to play the league during the COVID era.” Biratnagar FC Coach Yan La, who is coaching first time in Nepal, claimed the league would benefit the players. Biratnagar Captain Ranjeet Dhimal said all the players had given their cent per cent during the training.

Butwal Lumbini FC Coach Sanoj Shrestha said all of his boys including foreign players are fit. Captain Bishal Shrestha said their preparation went well despite the training started late due to the gold cup tourneys. 

FC Chitwan Coach Megh Raj KC also expressed his dissatisfaction over having a short duration for the preparation. “We have selected good players from the auction. I expect our foreign players will play a vital role during the league,” Coach KC said.

Captain Bharat Khawas said they could not have enough time to train with their team but still they have prepared well for the league.