Feb 13, 2017 – Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal felicitated the Nepal National Football Team that won the AFC Solidarity Cup at his official residence in Baluwatar on Monday.
The government had previously announced reward of Rs. 3,00,000 and PM Dahal today handed over the reward to players and officials. The 23 players of the squad were rewarded with Rs. 300,000 along with the Head Coach Gyotoku Koji. Assistant Coach Raju Kaji Shakya was rewarded Rs. 200,000 while Goalkeeping Coach Ujjwal Manandhar and Physiotherapist Suraj Bhusal got Rs. 50,000 each.
Speaking on the programme, Captain of the National Team, Mr. Anil Gurung thanked the government for their step to boost the morale of the players. "We gave our best in the field and it feels great to do something for you country and be the reason behind millions of smiles here. Your support has been pinnacle in our success and i hope we will be giving many such moments in days to come.", said Gurung. He also pointed out the lack of infrastructure which could play vital role in the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers. He said, 'We are playing AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers from next month and to not have a proper home ground is a sad scene. Last time, when we had PM Dahal at the helm, we hosted the first ever PM cup and the crowd that time showed what we can ghold. I am hopeful we will be able to see the same scene again sooner in the same stadium'.
Congratulating the team for their feat, Prime Minister Dahal said that the players have made the nation proud once again. “Sports has been playing a role of unity in our nation for a long time now. and with success like this, we are announcing ourselves in international arena which is a matter of pride and honor.”, Dahal said. He also assured that the development works on the sports infrastructure will begin as soon as possible. 'I will talk to the concerned authorities about the situation on infrastructures at Dasarath Stadium and i want to assure you all that we will make it ready to use sooner.', he ended. PM Dahal also wished the team the best for upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers which begins from 28 March, 2017.
In the tournament played at Malaysia on November 2016, Nepal defeated Macau by 1-0 in the final to lift the first ever trophy under AFC. Nepal were pitted in group 'A' where they were held for a goalless draw by Timor and won 3-0 against Brunei to top the group. Nepal beat Laos by 3-0 in tiebreaker after the regulation time ended 1-1 in semis. The extra time saw one goal from each team.
In the programme, the President of All Nepal Football Association handed out a memorandum to PM Dahal mentioning the present scenario of Nepalese Football and the request from the football's governing body to the government. The memorandum also reads on how the government has been supporting the most loved sports of the country for its development throughout these times. The Association has asked the government to help financially on the wake of Nepal's participation in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers which could cost around Rs. 20 million.