In November 2020, Aashish Lama was in the squad when Nepali national men's football team was about to travel to Bangladesh for friendly matches. The matches were of significant importance as the country's sports fraternity was trying to get on their feet after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. "I was excited for the match as we were finally going to play after staying idle for long due to the coronavirus pandemic but fate had other ideas," Lama remembers.
Lama's roommate in the national team closed camp tested positive for Covid-19 and he had to isolate. "My roommate had shown no symptoms yet he tested positive. I too could not travel for Bangladesh and had to stay back under contact tracing," said Lama. His wait to get back on the field was extended further.
Lama was born in December 1996 in Gerkhu, Nuwakot. He came to Kathmandu with his father at the age of seven and joined Vishwa Niketan School in Koteshwor. "It was then I first came to the Dasharath Stadium to watch a football match. It is how I became fond of the game," Lama said.
Lama began to represent in school-level competitions. He played the U-14 Championship with NRT and won. Since playing for NRT in age-group competition, Lama has gone on to play for Tusal Youth Club, Boys Union Club, Himalayan Sherpa Club, Manang Marsyangdi Club before finally joining Armed Police Force (APF) Club where he now plays club football.
Lama's journey in the national team began when then coach Johan Kalin had gone to watch the Safal Pokhara Cup in Pokhara. He saw Lama there and called him in the national squad and represented Nepal in two friendly matches against Kuwait in 2019.
"Having sat out the first friendly, coach Kalin over the dinner a day before the game said that I would start the second friendly. I was ecstatic to finally relish my dream of playing for my country in the senior level," the forward said.
Lama said there is nothing like golden days in a footballer's career. "I have played for a lot of clubs and as a striker I understand people will remember and know you until you score. Such is the competition in football that if goals dry up, we will go down the drain in the memory lane," he said.
Lama suggests one has to remain humble even if he has reached the peak of his career. He finished as top scorer in the Martyr's Memorial 'A' Division League in 2076-77 BS with nine goals. "We should have the tenacity to face every challenges as there are going to be both good and bad times in football. Also we should not be carried away by the achievements," he said. "One will get down after reaching the top, you should not be arrogant on being at the top".
The striker has a simple message to others who look into come into football: Work hard and work harder if you fail. "I had that belief in me that I would play but in the early days but I had to spend a lot of time on the bench. Such thing drains you mentally but you should be patient and prove yourself through dedication and discipline. If you fall, get up and start on analyzing on why you fell in the first place".
Lama said he is still in the learning process and has a lot of things still to complete. "There were times when situation was out of my hand and I could only watch but now as I have the chance, I will give my best to make up for the time I lost," he said.