Nepalese samosa, dumplings, traditional dancing on stage and cash prize for the winning team, you don’t have to travel all the way to Kathmandu to take part in Nepalese football tournaments as they happen in England, throughout the year.
Milan Rai, 23, who plays for J.D Boys Nepalese football club, located in South Harrow is a regular participant in Nepalese football competitions. He revealed the benefits and set backs of carrying out these events, “Football is very popular among guys from my country, so the organisers are aware of the success the events will have. It also brings us together”.
With 95% of participants originating from Nepal, the issue of these events resulting to separation and modern day segregation has been a hot topic.
The J.D Boys F.C defender defended the organisers, explaining how the events don’t cause separation but are there to offer a different form of challenge for footballers. “I played for both my University and local Nepali football teams. The pace of the game is noticeably higher in Nepalese football, its practically non stop, so it gives you something different”. With majority of the games being seven aside with smaller pitches, players have to cover less ground so games are played at a more rapid pace. The 23 year old later added, “Imagine going for a kick about with your friends in the summer, but this time its an actual competition, over 20 teams with trophies and money to be won”.
Co-ordinator of the Yalamberhang Football Cup and ex Ghurkha, Nar Thamsuhang explained how the motives of the events were misunderstood; “We went with the intention of gathering and providing fun for the people of our country, who are a minority in this country.” The 45 year old who has now re-joined service in the British Army added, “The competitions are very active during the summer and we welcome players from all nationalities but it still remains highly popular with Nepalese participants”.
Throughout the years, Nepalese football tournaments have developed significantly. What use to attract a few teams of young men, now includes the Veteran and Super veteran section for older participants. In rare occasions teams from Hong Kong and even professional footballers from Nepal such as Anil Gurung who plays for Manang Marshyangdi Club took part in these competitions to help attract more attendance. However, the biggest improvement has been the involvement of females. Mr Thamsuhang explained, “Due to the growth of the tournaments we must take more responsibilities to ensure further misinterpretation won’t take place, so we try to involve people of all race, size and gender”.