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Army dares to defy, pulls out its players in middle of night

KATHMANDU: Nepal Army pulled out two of its lead players from the national team while they were still to play their last match of the AFC Challenge Cup on Monday.
On Sunday evening the two star footballers—Nepal’s best goalkeeper Bikash Malla and the best midfielder Raju Tamang—were taken from the hotel they were staying on Sunday evening though they had to play the league’s final match on Monday with Turkmenistan.
NA did not even inform that ANFA about its decision and the results were obvious on Monday. Nepal lost its third match in a row with Turkemenistan.
ANFA Chief Ganesh Thapa said that he was shocked with the event. NA Spokesperson Brig Gen Ramindra Chhetri defended the decision and claimed that his boys had informed about it to the sub-coach.
He claimed that there was not point in keeping the players there as Nepal was already out of the race and they could perform still well for the army in its ongoing departmental team’s football match against Sri Lanka in the first South Asian Army Sports Meet.
Though NA won against Sri Lanka the decision left stunned the Nepali football players and the daring of the NA when Chettri said that they don’t care if ANFA didn’t select their players in the future.
“If they (ANFA) don’t select our players that is their problem, not ours.”  Chettri said to daily newspaper today.
Dashed by the sliding loss of the team and NA’s ‘sixteenth century action’, Nepal’s most successful coach Graham Roberts resigned from the post.
“I was told that Bikash and Raju were forced to leave the team because their club (NA) had threatened to court martial them if they defied the orders,” said an emotional Roberts during the post-match press conference.
During his stint starting February of 2011, Nepal played 17 international matches, winning six, drawing four and losing seven.  For the first time in history, Roberts led Nepal to the second round of the FIFA World Cup Asian Zone Qualifiers with a 7-1 aggregate victory over Timor Leste in 2011. However Nepal lost 10-1 in aggregate against Jordan in the second round.

Published Date: Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 | 07:44 AM

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