Return to international football ends in disappointment

The long awaited return to international football ended in defeat for the Nepali men's football team.

Nepal lost the first of the two friendly matches against hosts Bangladesh by 2-0 at the Bangabandhu Stadium on Friday.

Mohammad Nabib Newaz Ziban and Mahbubur Rahman scored the goals for the hosts. Ziban opened the scoring in the 10th minute firing in from a close range. Substitute Rahman scored the second in a counter attack in the 80th.

Bikash Khawas, Darshan Gurung and Arik Bista made their debut for the national side. Khawas started the match while Bista came in as a substitute for Bikram Lama in the first-half. Gurung was a second-half substitute coming in for Ravi Shankar Paswan.

The second friendly will be played on November 17.

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New competition dates approved by AFC Competitions Committee

Kuala Lumpur: The dates for the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023, were approved by the AFC Competitions Committee at their third meeting for the 2019-2023 cycle, which was held online and chaired by Dr. Tran Quoc Tuan.

It was agreed that all the Asian Qualifiers Round 2 matches should be completed by June 15, 2021 with Match Day 7 and 8 in March 2021 and Match Day 9 and 10 in June 2021 with the Final Round of the Asian Qualifiers beginning in September 2021.

It was agreed, in collaboration with FIFA, that the 10 match days of the Asian Qualifiers Final Round should be finished by the end of March 2022 with the Asian and Inter-Continental Play-offs proposed for the FIFA Window May/June in 2022. The Asian Play-off for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is proposed as a single match.

The AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 bidding process was also agreed. The tournament was originally scheduled for China PR in 2022 as a preparatory competition ahead of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 but the Chinese Football Association (CFA) has now informed the AFC they are no longer able to stage the tournament.

Now the Committee has agreed that the hosting process for the 2022 and 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup editions will be reopened to Member Associations in the West with the intention of the 2026 tournament again providing preparation for the AFC Asian Cup in 2027.

It is intended that all future AFC U23 Asian Cups in non-Olympic years will be hosted by the Member Association staging the subsequent AFC Asian Cup while the competition dates for the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 will be further discussed.

In the meeting Dr. Tran thanked the Qatar FA and the Qatar Authorities, as well as the AFC Administration, for the successful staging of the AFC Champions League (West) in September and October as well as the preparations for the AFC Champions League (East) which begins next week.

Dr. Tran said: “We have successfully completed the AFC Champions League in the West and in just a few days, we will kick-off the competition for the East region clubs. Our sincere thanks go to the Qatar Football Association and the Qatar Government as well as our congratulations to the AFC Administration.

“They have done an excellent job. I am sure they will build on their expertise to stage an outstanding tournament, including the Final on December 19. At all times the safety and health of all the players, teams and officials have been and remain our priority.”

The Committee also agreed to nominate an AFC COVID-19 Sub Committee for the East Zone matches following the efficient decision-making process of a corresponding Sub Committee during the AFC Champions League (West).

The Sub Committee, chaired by the AFC Competitions chairperson Dr. Tran, will decide on urgent matters under the AFC Champions League 2020 Regulations and Special Rules applicable to the AFC Competitions During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Special Rules).

The Competition Regulations for the AFC Champions League 2021 and the AFC Cup 2021 were approved. The new calendar for the AFC Cup 2021 was also approved while there would be further discussions on match dates and competition formats for the AFC Champions League 2021 with all stakeholders in the coming days.

The Committee also agreed that the previously postponed AFC U-19 Championship will be staged in Uzbekistan between March 3 to 20, 2021 and they also accepted changes to the eligibility rules for the AFC U-16 Championship Bahrain to allow players born on or after January 1, 2004 to play in the tournament. The dates for the AFC U-16 Championship, also postponed from 2020, are to be further discussed. 


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Ravi Shankar Paswan, a speedy midfielder who hopes to play in foreign football leagues

Ravi Shankar Paswan is a man of few words. Those who know him well also know that he doesn't speak much. "I don't like to talk much. I think I want my game do the talking," said Paswan with a smile.

Paswan, 23, who played with plastic balls and socks stuffed with rags in his younger days in Umjan, Bara, is now a regular in the national men's football team. Since making his debut against Kuwait in 2019, Paswan has went on to represent his country on eight occasions. "It doesn't bother me that I am yet to score for the national team. I love to assist more than score a goal," said the midfielder.

Paswan's passion towards football began early in his younger days. One day, prior to a District League football tournament, the district team played a friendly against Paswan's team. Bara district coach Krishna Mani Chaudhary was so impressed with Paswan, he drafted him into the district team and played him in the tournament. Paswan's Jan Jyoti Youth Club won the league and he was adjudged as the best player of the tournament. "I won a cycle from the league. That was the first thing I won as a footballer," said Paswan.

The club then went to Pokhara to participate in the Aaha Rara Gold Cup in 2014. His performance caught the eye of then Manang Marsyangdi Club's coach Raju Kaji Shakya. Shakya urged Paswan to play for MMC, a heavyweight in Nepali football. "MMC paid me a monthly salary of Rs 20,000. I gave the amount to my dad. It was a happy moment for as it was my first earning," said Paswan.

His club career took turn when MMC decided against playing in Shiva Satakshi Gold Cup in Jhapa. Then Nepal Police Club's Ananta Thapa invited him to play for NPC in the tournament. Paswan obliged. Paswan later also received a job offer from NPC. "I accepted the offer as my dad always wanted me to play for NPC. He had heard names of Hari Khadka, Jumanu Rai while listening commentary on radio and wanted me to represent the club," said Paswan.

Paswan is a player who has shone in knockout tournaments rather than league tournament. He has won numerous awards and cash prize during his career with MMC and NPC. "I won a scooter in Aaha Rara Gold Cup in 2017 and a motorbike in Khaptad Gold Cup in 2018. I have also won cash prizes on multiple occasions," he said. Asked about what he does with the earnings, he said he gives them all to his parents. "I know I am here because of the support I received from my family. Besides, it gives me a good feeling to repay the faith my parents had on me," said Paswan.

National team assistant coach Kiran Shrestha knows Paswan well since his debut against Kuwait. "He is a hardworking, disciplined lad. His speed is his strength on the pitch. He is lean and thin person and can become more lethal if he puts on some muscles," said Shrestha.

Paswan said he has made a lot of sacrifices and worked hard to represent his country. "Since I started playing football, I always wanted to represent my country. I think every footballer thinks the same way as I did but not everyone succeeds," he said. Paswan credits his never give up attitude as the reason for his success he has achieved so far. "I don't boast of achieving a lot but I thing I am where I am because of hard work. It’s the same with other too."

The midfielder said he hopes to continue in the national fold in coming years. He said he wanted to follow footsteps of fellow footballers and play in leagues in India and Maldives. "Hopefully I can achieve that. But I have to earn it and only way to achieve that is through hard work and discipline," said Paswan.

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Chhettri, Shrestha nominated in FIFA International Refereeing List

Prajwol Chhetri and Prakash Nath Shrestha have been nominated in the 2021 FIFA International Refereeing List.

Chhetri and Shrestha have replaced Sudish Pandey and Shrawan Lama.

In the women's category Anjana Rai replaced Ashmita Manandhar as FIFA referee. 

Similarly, Rojen Shrestha and Padam Bhujel were replaced by Kishan Kanaya Yadav and Bikram Chaudhary. 

The list was approved by the ANFA referee committee following a fitness and medical test.  

FIFA Referee : Nabindra Maharjan, Kabin Byanjankar, Prajwol Chhetri, Prakash Nath Shrestha, Anjana Rai (women's category)
FIFA Assistant Referee : Bina Nawachhe Shrestha (women's category), Nani Ram Thapa Magar, Madhav Khatri, Yunal Malla, Sahadev Shrestha, Bikram Chaudhary, Kishan Kanaya Yadav

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