Famous clubs of world football are busy buying and selling players and pre-season transfer news are on the focus everywhere. Domestic leagues will kick off next month in all European nations.
However, Nepali football has quite a different story. New season of Martyrs Memorial League is shrouded in uncertainty and All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) is yet to envisage the modality of the domestic league.
However, Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) came forward with an ambitious plan and signed 17 players for the new season on Wednesday amidst a special function.
MMC have brought in 11 players from other ´A´ division clubs. MMC have continued contracts with only six players among the 27 who had played for the club last season. MMC, who finished last season in fifth position, aim for the trophy in the coming season and announced to invest five million rupees on players.
“Ten years ago, we were the first club to initiate professional football and pay players. Today, we are the first club to pay Rs 50,000 to a single player,” said MMC President Tashi Ghale.
While MMC were announcing their plan for next year, even ANFA CEO Indraman Tuladhar tagged it as a “courageous work”.
“ANFA is still thinking about the modality of domestic league and players´ transfer rule. We are going through a series of discussions over whether to adopt Premier League or National League format. We will have a clear picture in a month,” said Tuladhar.
On the other hand, MMC President Ghale asked ANFA to publish its calendar. “If ANFA does not continue domestic league this year, Nepali football will not progress,” said Ghale. “There is a rift within ANFA and a few officials are abusing their authority. Some of our players have been threatened not to sign with us,” added Ghale.
Sahukhala ´the highest paid footballer´
Upendra Man Singh was the star goalkeeper ten years ago and he was the highest paid player in MMC. “I used to get Rs 1,500 per month in my days,” Singh who won the trophy of the domestic league recalled.
The footballer from Madhyapur Thimi was offered to coach the same club on Wednesday. “We are looking for a coach and we have offered Upendra to take charge,” said MMC President Ghale. However, Singh claimed the offer is still unofficial.
Singh on Wednesday witnessed the changing scenario as Santosh Sahukhala from the same town of Madhyapur became the highest paid footballer in the domestic league.
Sahukhala, the best forward of last season, signed a contract to play for the club on Wednesday after being offered Rs 50,000 per month. Sahukhala had scored 19 goals last season for Nabil Three Star Club. MMC had paid Rs 30,000 per month to star striker Basanta Thapa in 2005.
“We have signed contracts with players and we are paying a minimum of Rs 10,000 and a maximum of Rs 50,000,” informed MMC President Ghale.
Along with Sahukhala, four Three Star players have signed with MMC while two each from Sankata, Friends and Machhindra Club have signed the contract.
Bijay Gurung, Anjan KC and Sandeep Rai, who left Three Star, will receive Rs 40,000 per month. The best defender of last season Rohit Chand and Naresh KC from Machhindra, and Sujal Shrestha and Nabin Maharjan from Sankata were also introduced by MMC on Wednesday.
Likewise, Nirajan Khadka and Deepak Bhusal of Friends and Subash Rai of NRT also joined MMC.
“Some good players are leaving Three Star and in such a situation I alone can´t bring up the club. Meanwhile, I got a good offer from MMC,” said the highest paid Sahukhala.
However, Anjan KC explained that the offer was a dream come true. “I had a dream of playing for MMC. My friends Bijay and Sandeep as well as new talents like Rohit and Deepak were ready to join MMC and I liked the offer,” KC explained.
All other newly signed players said that they found the MMC offer attractive and that it could be a good team.