The year of no football / Throw Back to the worst year 2022 in Nepalese Football

29th January 2022 Vs Mauritius

Nepali football commenced their 2022 with an international friendly against the east African nation Mauritius at Dasharath Stadium. It was a two matches friendly against the guest. With the only goal from star Bimal Gharti Magar, Nepal secured a 1-0 win over their new rivalry.

1st February 2022 Vs Mauritius

Nepal played their second international friendly against Mauritius. This time too Nepal won by same 1-0 score line with the help of Sujal Shrestha's brace. 

Starting the year with 2 wins out of 2 gave hope to Nepalese fans that this time Nepali football will surely reach a height. But that didn't went good at the end.

  • Year  2022 it was a year without domestic football
  • Year of player's escape
  • It was since 26th February Nepal didn't have football through out the year 2022
  • The monitoring body ANFA's committee changed
  • The postpone of Nepal's first franchise league NSL & the uncertainty of Martyr's memorial A division league

26th Feb 2022 

The three months long 2021-22 season of Martyr's Memorial A Division League ended on a note. It was Machhindra Club who were successful to defend their title for the second time. This was the last time when Nepal witness their football throughout the year 2022.

The postpone of NSL

The second season of Nepal's first ever franchise football league NSL which was scheduled for the April 9- May 21 2022. The organizers even doubled the prize money to NRs.75 Lakhs, introduced three new teams Jhapa FC, Birgunj United FC & Sporting Club de Ilam. Even the 10 participating teams contracted the players through auction that held on 19th of March.

But the dissatisfaction from the A division clubs with the NSL clubs, the participating teams stated not to take part in the competition. NSEM, the organizer then urged ANFA to extend the agreement demanding the window of September & October for the competition. 

14th June 2022

All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) granted permission to hold the second edition of the Nepal Super League (NSL) from Bhadra 25, 2079 to Karthik 5, 2079 (September 10, 2022 to October 22, 2022) as per the request.

The start of AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers Campaign:

After being out from the second round of Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022, Nepal were placed in the AFC Asian Cup third round Qualifiers. It was former Kuwaiti head coach Abdullah in charge of the national team who geared up his team for a hard fought in the qualifiers to be held in the mid of June.

Nepal's tour of Thailand:

Ahead of the draw Nepal were invited by the Thailand for two friendlies one against their national team & another with their Thai league club Chonburi FC as the preparatory match.

24th March 2022 Vs Thailand: Nepal suffered a 2-0 against the host. 

27th March 2022 Vs Chonburi FC : Chonburi stunned Nepal with 3-1 score line. The only goal for Nepal came from the substitute Darshan Gurung who is currently in Australia after no football in Nepal.

Nepal lost both of the matches with the higher ranked Thailand team. It was a good experience for Nepal to face the ASEAN nation. Later Nepal was drawn into group A of the AFC Asian Cup third round qualifiers along side with Jordan, Indonesia & the host Kuwait.

Players & head coach conflict:

After the Thailand tour Nepalese national men's football team geared up for the further improvement. It was 2 months ahead of the qualifiers & Nepalese team were in a good shape to have a strong presence in the competition.

27th April 2022

A news came up one of the renown sports media called entitled “10 senior players revolted against the head coach Abdullah Almutairi.”

It was said in the news that 10 senior players revolted against the head coach Abdullah Almutairi expressing dissatisfaction with his working style. The players left the closed training saying that they were treated very conservatively.

Initially, Rohit Chand, a senior player of the national team, expressed his dissatisfaction over the poor management of the players during the training. He had complained the head coach that there was no arrangement for good living and food during the training. 

ANFA then kept the players in a hotel in Tripureshwor & started regular training at Dasharath Stadium. It was said that the distance between the senior players and the coach increased after the senior player complaint.

Rohit Chand, who seemed dissatisfied with the coach, had initially taken leave from the camp. Following Rohit other senior players also left the hotel & even the closed camp saying that the coach behaved irresponsibly while Chand was on leave. Almutairi was criticized for using the player for his own vested interests.

28th April 2022

Next day the very 10 senior players organized press conference making a serious accusation against their head coach Abdullah Almutairi. According to them, the head coach imposed dictatorship in the camp and publicly said that the coach put mental pressure on them.

On the statement the players said they won’t play under Abdullah Almutairi as their coach. ANFA then formed an investigation committee to resolve the issue. Regardless the conflict on 1st May Al Mutairi released a statement to ANFA asking to forgive the players & not to take action against them. But that didn’t went well as per his plan.

30th April 2022

Almutairi called 17 new players even from B & C division to continue the closed camp as the replacement of those 10 senior players for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign in Kuwait.

Abdullah’s new Nepal national team playing some warm up matches against the domestic clubs including African Avinir FC fled to Qatar for the rest of the preparation.

28th May Vs Timor Leste

The new team in the captainship of Armymen Nawayug Shrestha played a 2-2 draw against Timor Leste at Grand Hammad Ground, Doha. It was Darshan Gurung & Nawayug Shrestha who scored for Nepal.

3rd June Vs Oman

Nepal played their second friendly in Doha against Oman who were also in closed camp in Qatar. Nepal suffered a 2-0 lost against the Oman.

The poor run in AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers:

Nepal kicked off their AFC Asian Cup qualifiers campaign on a note to stun some of the Asian giants but that didn’t went as per the plans. It was a poor run from the Gorkhalis in the competition.

1st Match: 9th June Vs Jordan: Nepal suffered a 2-0 loss in their opener.

2nd Match: 11th June Vs Kuwait: Nepal lost against Kuwait by 4-1, which ended up their qualification ahead of their last match against Indonesia. Darshan Gurung was the only man to score for Nepal in the whole competition & that against the Kuwait.

3rd Match: 15th June Vs Indonesia: A match every Nepalese fans don’t want to remember when Almutairi filed on the second choices player against Indonesia giving in the name of giving chances to his every players. The underestimation to the rising Garudas got Nepal to suffer one of the humiliating loss in their football history.

Disputes still continued:

The players’ coach dispute was still on the investigation when Nepal participated in the AFC Asian Cup qualifier. Abdullah who was fainted against his own nation Kuwait was allowed 3 months leave from ANFA for recovery.

30th May 2022

The task force set up to investigate the coach player dispute recommended the removal of AA from the head coach of Nepal National Football Coach in coordination with Qatar FA. But it was the election fever & ANFA had no time to work on that.

The rise of Pankaj Bikram Nembang in ANFA:

Following the players’ coach dispute the former ANFA president Karma Chhiring Sherpa was accused of keeping coach AA on his shoulder giving him every freedom to perform stunts. They very accussion and his failure in the replacement of coach AA got Karma to leave his throne.

21st June 2022

Pankaj Bikram Nembang the ex-vice president won the ANFA Presidential Election defeating his opponent Karma Tsering Sherpa in the 21st ANFA Ordinary Congress 2022 at Hotel Park Village Resort in Kathmandu. Nembang secured 45 votes to Sherpa’s 39 to secure the next four year term. Pankaj was said to win the election from the support of the players too as he had assured them to resolve the problems.

Coach AA’s sign of resignation:

The very day at mid night following the win of Pankaj Nembang Coach, on his Instagram story coach AA wrote a good bye note which he soon deleted.

The real test of ANFA’s new president:

It was a challenge for the new ANFA president to implement the suggestions from task force to sack AA since he was a technical aid from the Qatar FA. ANFA were out of money to appoint new head coach with large sum of money.

NSL’s future running out of time:

8th July 2022 the new elected ANFA committee sat down with the organisers of NSL, Nepal Sports and Events Management to sign a new agreement to conduct the franchise league after ANFA itself decided to cancel the previous agreement due to some unfulfilled works as written.

As the former ANFA committee under Karma Tsering Sherpa had granted NSEM new dates to organize the second edition from September 10 to October 11 the cancellation of agreement from the newly elected committee, the existence of the franchise league came into question yet again.

The entry of Pradeep Humagain as head coach:

11th August 2022

ANFA working committee decided to rest Abdullah and appoint US based NRNA coach Pradeep Humagain as the acting head coach for a single match against Bangladesh to be held in the end of September. Humagain who had a disputed coaching career in the 1st season NSL with Lalitpur City FC recalled all those senior players back to the team. The very day working committee confirmed the odd date for Nepal Super League as 9th of October stating that they will only allow NSEM to host the event if they follow ANFA's process & statutes.

Confusion in ANFA leadership & the downfall of Nepalese football

In the contrary of almost 5 months on uncertainty of NSL, on 11th August 2022, the new leadership at ANFA failed to expand the span of A Division league. The duration of the league was announced just for three months giving the dates from December 23, 2022 till March 18 2023.

Loss of Abdullah Almutairi from Nepal’s football

11th September 2022

AA officially resigned from the head coach via an email resignation letter to ANFA. In the letter sent to the General Secretary of ANFA, it has been mentioned that he has terminated the contract himself. ANFA, with the financial and technical support of Qatar FA, on April 4, 2022, under the leadership of outgoing president Karma Tshiring, had appointed Kuwaiti coach Almutairi, who has a FIFA pro level license head coach.

Last years on 2021 October, under the leadership of Almutairi, Nepal played the final of the SAFF Championship for the first time. However, when they lost to India, the Nepali team was deprived of the title. Likewise, Nepal also played the second round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers under the leadership of Almutairi. However, he was dragged into a controversy after 10 players who were in training left the closed training on 13th Baisakh due to their dissatisfaction with his working style which ended up his coaching career from Nepal National Men’s football team.

27th September 2022

Nepal won the match against Bangladesh by 3-1 where Anjan Bista scored his first hattrick under the newly appointed head coach Pradeep Humagain.

Uncertainty in A division league

18th October 2022 

ANFA committee revised the league format to double league with a meeting between the 13 club representatives & ANFA officials to start the league from Poush 26 lasting 6 months to Jestha 20.

It was on last year’s Falgun when Nepal had their domestic league. NSL which was scheduled to happen from the last years April but still uncertain. And following this, recently on 2nd of December All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) confirmed that the Martyr's Memorial 'A' Division League will not be held on the scheduled date i.e. 26th of Poush. According to the agreement reached between 14 clubs of the top division and ANFA on 21st of Kartik, it was confirmed that the league will not be held on the scheduled date due to the fact that ANFA did not give the money to the clubs.

Nepalese International’s escape to abroad

With all these immaturity & insincerity from the governing body ANFA Nepal’s football is almost to end if they still failed to resolve the problems. 

  •     Short league format
  •      Uncertainties surrounding lucrative NSL tournament
  •      Recent controversy surrounding Nepal head coach and players

Almost 3 dozens of young and promising talents left Nepal to play minor league football in Australia for better future. These sorts of brain drain in football have dashed the hopes of those who want to see Nepal reach new heights in football.

16th November 2022 Vs Pakistan

Nepal played an international friendly against the recently FIFA unbanned nation Pakistan in the home ground at Dashrath International Stadium. Anjan Bista’s only goal get a 1-0 win against the Pakistan. This time Meghraj KC of Satdobato- the giant killers from the last season A division league coached the Nepal’s national Mens football team. This was the last match Nepal played in the year 2022.

A new hope in Nepalese football after the resume of both NSL & A division league:

At the end of the year 2022 ANFA have finally found their way out to resume two of the best domestic leagues in Nepalese football. ANFA signed a long term deal with NSL & resolved their disputes against the A division clubs.

20th December 2022

All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) and Nepal Sports and Event Management Pvt. Ltd. (NSEM) inked a contract for the Nepal Super League that would last for eight years (NSL). The competition shall take place between Ashoj & Kartik of next year as per the agreement. This time, the competition will last for two full months.

29th December 2022

A meeting held between ANFA & participating clubs at Satdobato, Lalitpur agreed upon the terms & conditions to reschedule the league. ANFA cleared all the recent dues to the participating clubs & had a mutual understanding to resume the league from 3rd March 2023.

Earlier the A division was scheduled to start from the 26th of Poush. For that ANFA had called all the 14 participating teams to register their team on Poush 7 as the last date. But due to the financial issues regarding the clearance of preparation expenses from ANFA, the clubs didn’t even registered.

After a rattle between ANFA & clubs, there arouse the uncertainty in the organization of league this year. These sorts of frustrating situation made lots of Nepalese players to speak up for their right to play demanding both their clubs and ANFA to start the league soon. It's nearly after one year Nepalese domestic football is back in action since 26th February 2022.


Nepal played a total of 10 international matches including AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers back in June. Here are the results:

     Matches Played: 10

  •      Won: 4
  •      Lost: 5
  •      Draw: 1
  •      Goals Scored: 9
  •      Goals Conceded: 20

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