The football scene of Nepal has once again been hit with a sucker punch right in the face after five current and former players namely Sagar Thapa, Anjan KC, Ritesh Thapa, Sandeep Rai and Bikash Singh Chettri were arrested for match fixing scam on Wednesday. The match fixing scandal has surfaced after series of investigations done by Nepal Police who have found out that most of Nepal’s international matches since 2008 had been fixed with Sagar Thapa, the captain of the national team and Anjan KC, former international player being the key players behind the scam. Following their arrest, ANFA has suspended them from all football-related activities.
According to Metropolitan Crime Division chief SSP Sarbendra Khanal, all five players have confessed to their involvement in fixing games, which has sent the whole football fan base in a state of shock. They have accepted that they took money from bookies of Singapore and Malaysia to lose the matches. They’ve been hit with treason charge, which in simple language means they’ve been charged for committing a crime against the nation. The players who were looked up to as heroes by thousands of Nepalese are nothing less than criminals now.
True, the future of Nepali football is very dim and dark. Yes, the ‘honors’ section in the wikipedia of Nepali football is empty. I agree, our football association is corrupted from root to tip. But that does not give them, as players, the right to ruin it for football fans who spend hundreds of rupees to watch them play, who stand hours in scorching heat to get tickets to see them in the colors of the county, who put faith in them to unite us when we’ve lost hope in ‘unity in diversity’. They don’t have the right to play with our feelings by selling themselves and the name of our country for money. They don’t have the right to take away the dreams of the young boys and girls who work hard hoping to play for the national teams someday.
So, I desperately hope that strong actions will be taken against the players and there won’t be any sort of favoritism based on their ties to power over the governing body.
Featured Image by: GoalNepal