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Govt rewards AFC Solidarity Cup champions

Kathmandu, February 14, 2017: The government today felicitated the members of the national football team that won the AFC Solidarity Cup in November last year.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Minister for Youth and Sports Daljit Sripaili, National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista and MoYS Secretary Mahesh Prasad Dahal handed over Rs 300,000 and felicitation letters to each of the 23 players and head coach Gyotoku Koji amidst a function at the PM Residence in Baluwatar.

Goalkeepers Bikesh Kuthu, Bishal Shrestha and Kiran Kumar Limbu, defenders Rabin Shrestha, Biraj Maharjan, Ananta Tamang, Deepak Gurung, Aditya Chaudhary, Kamal Shrestha, Devendra Tamang and Ranjit Dhimal, midfielders Bishal Rai, Heman Gurung, Bikram Lama, Anjan Bista, Sujal Shrestha and Rajendra Rawal, and forwards Bharat Khawas, Nawayug Shrestha, Suman Lama, Anil Gurung, Ranjan Bista and Bimal Gharti Magar were in the team that won the maiden AFC-organised tournament title in Malaysia.

Assistant coach Raju Kaji Shakya was rewarded with Rs 200,000, while goalkeeping coach Ujjwal Manandhar and physiotherapist Suraj Bhusal received Rs 50,000 each. The government had announced the cash prize soon after the team claimed the title of the Solidarity Cup beating Macau 1-0 in the final. Bikesh Kuthu, Bimal Gharti Magar, Heman Gurung and Kiran Kumar Limbu along with assistant coach Raju Kaji Shakya were not present at felicitation programme.

After the felicitation, skipper Anil Gurung said such felicitations from the government encourage players to do better in the field. However, he expressed dissatisfaction for not being able to play international matches on home soil. “We will have to play home and away matches of the AFC Asian Cup Qualification and we are slated to play home match against the Philippines in near future. As we do not have a stadium, I am certain that we will not be able to host them. So I request the government to work on that as soon as possible,” he said.

Congratulating the team for their historic victory, Prime Minister Dahal said he would initiate the process of the constructing international-standard stadium at the earliest. “I will consult the Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as other concerned authorities to start the process of constructing international football stadium,” said Dahal.