Early records from various historians show that football entered Nepal in the early1920s during the Rana regime. It is believed that the game was introduced by youngsters who had learnt the game during their stay abroad.
Narayan Narsingh Rana of Thamel and Chandrajung Thapa of Naxal are believed to be the pioneers of the game. Football used to be played in grounds of old palaces that had their own teams. Mrigendra Shamsher Niwas at Babarmahal, Mahabir Niwas at Tangal, Nar Shumsher Niwas at Singhdarbar, Rudra Shamsher Niwas at Bhahadur Bhavan and Thamel Narsingh camp are some of the places where football used to be played in a regular basis.
Later in the 1930s when local teams emerged, the grounds of Singhdarbar, Chhauni, Gaucharan, Jawalakhel and Lainchaur were used for playing football.
Teams like Mahabir-11, N R T-11, Jawalakhel-11, and Public Institute-11 were established in 1934. A football tournament was organized for the first time in institutional way in 1934. A total of 12 teams had competed in the tournament. In that tournament, the team of Jawalakhel led by Nar Shumsher, who is credited as the founder of modern football in the country, had secured first position.
The popularity of the game ascended a greater height following the tournament, but due to various reasons the government banned the game. The game used to be played secretly wherever possible.
The rising popularity of the game led the authorities to lift the ban, given the organizers of the game solve any disputes that aroused in the game. It was decided a committee would be formed under the leadership of General Madan Shumsher in 1947.
Tribhuvan Challenge Shield
Later that year, H. M. King Tribhuvan introduced the Tribhuvan Challenge Shield in Tundikhel in front of Haribhavan with a view to develop the game. In that tournament Naresh-11team led by Nar Shumsher secured first position and N. R. T. team secured second position. In the same year, Shree 3 Padma Shumsher introduced "Ramjanaki Cup" which was continuously won thrice by Police Force team. The same cup was again introduced but was renamed as Marty's Memorial League football and hence League matches were introduced in Nepal.
Formation of Football Association
In the year 1947, nationwide rebellion for Democracy started which led to a break in football game for sometime but after the success of the tournament the interest of public in football was again the same. Thus for establishing football game in an organized way in Nepal, a football association was established in the year 1951.
The first Chairman of the association was General Nar Shumsher J. B. R. Similarly, the secretary Dr. Trailokya Nath Upreti and Janaki Prasad were elected as treasurer.
In the year 1951, Tribhuvan Challenge Shield Knock-out Football Tournament was organized in which the team of Jaleshwor-11 bagged the shield. Police force team secured 1st position and N. R. T. second in the Marty's Memorial League tournament organized in the same year. Balsakha Dal introduced a new shield called Devi Maya Memorial Shield in the year 1952 and in 1953 Sankata Boys Sports team won the shield. Other tournaments of football were played in Singh Durbar itself up to the year 1953. Although the construction of Dasharath Stadium had started just before the coronation of H. M. King Mahendra but football matches were played there on the occasion of the coronation of H. M. King Mahendra.
Formation of ANFA and entry into FIFA
The All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) was founded in 1951. In 1970, Nepal became a member of FIFA. Two years later, Nepal joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). With this, Nepal played their first international match on October 13, 1972, where they lost 2-6 to the People's Republic of China.
The first Nepali national football player to score a goal in international football was the late Prakash Bikram Shah (1943-1985). Shah was a national football, national table tennis, and cricket player. At the time, Nepal wasn't affiliated to FIFA; Nepal gained affiliation with FIFA in 1970.
The first Nepali footballer to score the first international goal for Nepal in a FIFA-recognized tournament was Y.B Ghale. He scored against Kuwait in the 1982 Asian Games.
The team's home ground is the Dasarath Rangasala Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium in Tripureswor, Kathmandu, Nepal. It is named after Dashrath Chand, one of the martyrs of Nepal.