Coincidentally, it was a Saturday when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked central part of Nepal on April 25 claiming thousands of lives, hundreds of injured and some thatched roofed houses and cemented houses to rubble. After a long time’s hiatus and tremendous effort, Nepal’s 22-year long title draught came to an end after Nepal beat India, a South Asian powerhouse in football, last Saturday on penalties in an exciting final of the first Saff U-19 Championship at Anfa Complex in Satdobato. Hearty congratulations to the players, coach, manager and those who are directly and indirectly associated with the team.
Late South African icon Nelson Mandel once said, ‘It always seems impossible until it is done.’ When Nepal took on Bhutan and Bangladesh in the league round of the championship, none had envisioned Nepal as a winner or champion of the first edition of SAFF U-19 Championship 2015. Despite it, the youth team converted impossibility into possibility by correcting their initial weaknesses and mistakes. Past is a guide for present and future.
The youth team’s skipper Bimal Gharti Magar said, ‘All of us wanted our arch-rivals India in the final to defeat. We played with determination and team spirit.’ Likewise, another prominent figure, a hero of the day, Nepali youth team’s coach, Bal Gopal Maharjan emotionally said, ‘ I want to dedicate this title to the souls of those who died in the devastating April earthquake and the late acting president of ANFA Lalit Krishna Shrestha who died of electrocution.’
Yes, it was neither Maharjan’s nor Magar’s team’s glory but of the whole Nepal and Nepalese. To our dismay, on the final day, only two high profile political figures K.P. Sharma Oli and Purusottam Poudel were present at the event. There were nearly 3000 spectators to cheer up and boost the morale of Nepali players. No matter what religions they followed, what parties they supported, what castes they belonged to, what walks of life they came from, what geographical belts they were from etc, their uniform slogan was ‘NEPAL’. There was a strong sense of unity. I could not resist emotional tears of glory when Nepal lifted the trophy.
If our selfish politicians are really committed to their words or if they are grateful to those martyrs who lost their life in different movements, they have to work in unity, mend their past errors and materialize martyrs’ dream. Nothing is impossible if our politicians stretch out their arms to perfection with constant concentration, devotion and a sense of unity. Until and unless the finishing touch is given to the constitution writing process, the departed souls of martyrs are no longer going to rest in eternal peace.
I wonder why our politicians do not understand that the more diverse the country is, the stronger the country will be. The Nepali youth team consisted of diversification; therefore, they overcame all hurdles, challenges and difficulties. The players didn’t play for themselves or personal gain but for the nation, an economically poor Himalaya nation but culturally rich.