Bivesh Gurung: The Nepalese talent leaving his mark in England | Featured Story |

The 14th edition of the SAFF Men's Football Championship will begin in Bengaluru from the third week of June. 8 teams will participate in this season's SAFF, which is different from the previous editions and is becoming more competitive. The reason is the presence of two strong invited teams, one from Kuwait and the other from the Philippines.

Currently, Kuwait, which is ranked 143th in FIFA rankings, is emerging as an Asian powerhouse. On the other hand, the 136th ranked Philippines, which has left a strong mark in East Asia, is also a very strong country compared to the SAFF countries.

Foreigners in SAFF Championship 2023

In this way, with the arrival of strong teams in the competition, the challenge has also been added to the teams of this region for the SAFF title. Due to this pressure of competition, some participating countries want to represent their foreign players in SAFF. It includes Pakistan at number one and Bangladesh at number two.

After a long FIFA ban, Pakistan, which is slowly gaining momentum in international football, is returning to SAFF after the 2018 edition. Keeping in view the level of competition, the Pakistan team is entering the SAFF along with the players of Pakistani origin in Britain and Denmark.

On the other hand, Bangladesh has made the debut of Nigerian forward Aletta Kingsley from the national team. Also, they have started preparing to sign Hamza Chaudhary, a very high-profile player who has played for Chelsea and Leicester City, & very famous in the English Premier League.

In this way, while the dominance of foreign players is gradually seen in SAFF, many football supporters have started demanding that Nepal should give their own foreign players a place in the national team. Saying this, are there are high profile players from Nepal who are playing in countries like Europe and America? To find the answer to this question, we have found a Nepali youth who is emerging in professional football in the UK. He is Bivesh Gurung.

Who is Bivesh Gurung?

Bivesh is the youngest child of Bhupal Gurung and Sanu Gurung who are from the Khotang Hills of Eastern Nepal. Bivesh, the youngest son of his parents who have been doing business for a long time in the UK, grew up there. While growing up there, studying at Maidstone School, Bivesh joined age group club of the same school and started playing football.

Bivesh with Crystal Palace

Before 2017/18, Bivesh started his footballing career with Maidstone Football Club U-16 and after that, he got the opportunity to play on scholarship with English Premier Cup team Crystal Palace U-18. Palace invited Bivesh for a trial for more than five months before making an offer to the team.

Bivesh, who went on a European tour at a young age to play professional football, reached Norway in the 2019/20 season with Vivesh Trysil FK. While in Trysil, he also scored 4 important goals in the league for the team in 13 matches as a central midfielder.

Having experience with various clubs in Europe, Bivesh returned to his former club Maidstone for the 2021/22 season. Dives, who was previously seen in the U-16 set-up, is playing for the senior team this time.

Trial with Chelsea Football Club

Before joining Maidstone, Bivesh of Nepali origin gave a trial at the prestigious English Premiership club Chelsea. In the middle of March 2021, he was in Chelsea's U-23 setup against Brentford B. In that match, Chelsea lost 2-1.

Journey with Maidstone FC

Maidstone football club recently played in the National League of the English fifth division from where the teams are promoted to the English Football League 2 and then to the EPL league 1 and finally to the English Premier league through the EFL championship.

Bivesh from Nepal scored 1 goal and 1 assist in 13 games for Maidstone, which was relegated to the English 6th division National League South in the 2022/23 National League. With the end of the league, the contact of Bivesh with Maidstone is ending on June 20.

Can Bivesh play from Nepal National Men's Football Team?

If ANFA and the new coach Vincenzo himself approach Bivesh who has understood the football of a world-class footballing country like Britain at a young age, he may be convinced to some extent to represent Nepal.

While saying that, he has one problem, that is the passport issue. Seeing Bivesh travelling European tour, he should probably have a British passport. It can definitely cause problems to represent the Nepali national football team. He will have to give up that visa to get Nepalese citizenship which is not a good move for him. For this, it is necessary for the government of Nepal to introduce the provision of dual citizenship for the players, just like the rules introduced by other SAAF countries.

Most of the countries in the world are making significant improvements in their respective sports fields by arranging Diaspora visas in football & cricket. Thus, with the inclusion of excellent foreign players of Nepali origin, Nepali football would definitely rise to some extent. The time has come for the government of Nepal to think about this.

Watch the video report on Bivesh Gurung

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