A year of Pankaj Bikram Nembang as ANFA President | Does he fail or pass? | Report Card

Nembang's rise as the ANFA president

20 June 2022 , Pankaj Bikram Nembang was elected as president of ANFA for 2022-2026 ( four years long tenure)  by defeating his closest friend Former ANFA president Karma Shering Sherpa by just 6 votes. Nembang filed his candiancy for president position with the slogan of 'Change ANFA', won the election & put him on the hot seat from where he could actually change the ANFA as he said.

The series of challenges after a new president

There were lots of challenges in from of him at the same time he had opportunities to transform the entire structure of traditional Nepali football. As soon as being elected as the president, the first challenge for Nembang was to take decision on the disputes between the Nepal national football team former head coach Abdullah Almutairi & the players. After settlement of first case his decision was criticize by many football fans. 

ANFA then appointed two different coach for two friendly match in the absence of official head coach after AA's departure. It was Pradip Humagain who's been appointed against Bangladesh & Prabesh Katuwal against Pakistan friendlies. Nepal was able to win both of the matches infront of the home crowd even after the departure of Kuwaiti coach Abdullah Almutairi.

Financial insufficiency problem revolving around ANFA but they decided to Call US resident Pradip Humagain for friendly match against Bangladesh where ANFA had to bear all his expenses ( including airfare).

The ignition of misunderstanding

Before Election majority of the ANFA members were on Nembang's side but after the election almost 70% members started going against his decision resulting every ANFA Ex-Co meeting ends without a positive note. Lots of misunderstanding existed even between the ANFA members. 

Allegations of selling Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 tickets

Everyone in the world were eying towards Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022. But in the contrary of  Nepali football, another sensational news cam in public. ANFA was  charged with allegations of selling FIFA World Cup ticket to AFC member to gain informal advantage where Pankaj Bikram Nembang filed his cadency for AFC executive committee.

For every non FIFA world cup playing nation, they provide some tickets to every country football association. Out of 290 tickets provided by FIFA to ANFA 75 tickets were found misused by ANFA but ANFA denied all the allegations charged on them from different media houses as well as from their association member itself.

Positive move on the continuity of Nepal Super League S2

It was former ANFA president Karma Tshering Sherpa who failed to organize the second season of Nepal super league on time. After election everyone eyed on Pankaj Bikram Nembang if he could resolved the issues. As a result president finalized the new date & space for NSL S2. But later on due to dissatisfaction from the A division league club, ANFA stepped back from the date.

Getting green signal from ANFA to conduct Nepal super League season 2 , NSL organized auction adding three new team Jhapa F.C, Sporting llam De Mechi F.C and Birgunj United F.C. Excitements were hitting hard among the NSL football clubs and the players were excited for upcoming matches after competition of season 1 without football fans in stadium. Again the ANFA Politics, lack of leadership ability in ANFA and A-Division club who holds power in Nepalese football did everything to not let NSL happen.

Brain Drain in Nepalese football: Big Names flying to Australia

After the Postponement of NSL season 2 and even the uncertainty in A-Division League, players were clueless and didn't know what to do next to run their life in financial terms. Later they started to find a new way to live their life. They choosed Australia for earning & living. Day by day more and more national team players left country but ANFA failed to address players issue.

In the context of addressing players issue ANFA's position holder gave the answer which was not accepted in any terms. General Secretary Kiran Rai said that they went because they want better life to live on but counter question. Do ANFA failed over here? answered human had unlimited need and wants and no any monetary value can defined it.

The double round robin A Division league 

Before 1 week of A Division League to start ANFA organized first ever 'Football Expo' with the objectives to bringing private investment in Nepalese football.

A-Division league was on the floor finally after 13 months and this time a division league was played on 3 ground , (Dasharath stadium, Chyasal stadium, ANFA Complex) in double robin round format. But due to the statement from A division clubs as they can't afford 6 month league ANFA decided to host for only 3 months league with tight schedule.

Entry of Italian head coach in National team

ANFA appointed Italian coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese as the head coach of Nepal national football team on March 1 for one year tenure. Under his leadership Nepal won the Prime Minister Three Nations Cup 2023 & even played  SAFF championship 2023 but due to the unavailability of players in right time, coach Vincenzo failed to execute his plans and strategy resulting the former runners up out of the SAFF Championship 2023 from group stage.

Resignation of president's advisor

General Advisory of president Pankaj Nembang, Nabin Pandey resigned from his position by blaming ANFA working structure and the knowledge ANFA members have to run the institution. 

Withdrawal of Nepal's name from AFC U-23 Asian Cup

ANFA withdraw the name of Nepal from U-23 AFC Asian cup Qualifiers due to financial insufficiency. This was the moment where football fans started to attack ANFA and their representative through social media post and even showing placards at Dasharatha stadium. Even football fans start to raise their voices to change the structure of ANFA and asked the resignation from ANFA president.

Positive signs from ANFA: Unsilvers Sponsor

In the recent days ANFA is showing some progressive moves giving approval to Nepal super league to conduct from Mangsir 9, conducting ANFA U-16 youth league from , and bringing private investment in Nepalese women's football team. Getting sponsorship of 25 lakh from Unilever Nepal to help ANFA accomplish the mission World Cup 2027/31.

No confidence against the ANFA president

Bhadra 26, With 19 claims, a vote of no confidence has been filed against Pankaj Bikram Nemwang, president of the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), and Kiran Rai, general secretary. This is the first time in ANFA's existence that a proposal of this nature has been filed against the president. ANFA Senior Vice President Bir Bahadur Khadka received a resolution of no confidence from 49 of the 86 members who attended the organization's annual general meeting on Monday. The letter was delivered to ANFA by a team under the direction of former ANFA president Karmachiring Sherpa, and it had 49 signatories.

Now lets see what ANFA President Pankaj Bikram Nemwang response on this serious issue and how he will going to handle conflict by keeping in mind about safeguarding players dream to play football. Many ups and down in his 1st tenure for Pankaj Bikram Nembang as ANFA president. Hope remaining 3yrs of his tenure will make it count and we football fans always want to see Nepalese football to grow.

- Researched & written by Laxuman Ghimire 

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