After 23 years and a series of controversies, Nepal finally won an international tournament today in what turned out to be an entertaining 90 minutes of football. Nepal beat Bahrain 3-0 in Dhaka to lift the Bangabandhu Gold Cup along with a prize money of $50,000. The last time Nepal brought home a trophy was in 1993 when they won the gold medals in SAF Games.
Man of the match Bimal Gharti Magar scored in the 5th minute to give Nepal the lead after the Bahrain goalie half-cleared Anjan Bista’s header. The second and third goals were scored by Bishal Rai and Nawayug Shrestha respectively. Bahrain also had a few chances to get back in the game but Nepali goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu guarded the goals well and made zero mistakes. The final game was not just jam-packed with amazing goals and assists but had cards shown for both sides too. Both the teams were down to 10 men after Suman Lama, who was in the pitch just minutes ago, and Althuwani of Bahrain were shown red cards in the 81st minute. Despite being a man down, Nepal kept on pressing, as a result of which they were able to produce two valuable goals in the last few minutes of the game.
Along with the winner’s trophy, Nepal will also be coming home with individual awards and records. Nawayug was awarded the most valuable player along with the highest scorer of the tournament with four goals under his name. Bikesh kept the most clean sheets as Nepal conceded just one goal throughout the tournament.
True, they left for Bangladesh with doubts surrounding them, but now when they’ll come back, they’ll come back as the heroes that they are. Credits where due, the coach Mr. Bal Gopal Shrestha did an amazing job in leading the team towards victory. After the banishment of the ANFA president and the match fixing scandal, people had doubts whether the football scene of Nepal will ever improve, but this team did not let the supporters down.