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Surge in sponsorship helping football thrive outside capital

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Jhapa, January 30, 2017: There was a time when big corporate houses preferred to sponsor Kathmandu-centered football events and established clubs. But the increasing number of tournaments outside the Kathmandu Valley has now encouraged corporate houses to sponsor local clubs as well. As a result, they are sponsoring different football tournaments in Jhapa which has helped local football activities and in the development of the players.

 “We had organized many tournaments in the past with donations and it was difficult to conduct big tournaments. It used to be very difficult to collect the needed money,” said Jal Kumar Gurung, Central Member of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), adding, “But after corporate houses started offering help, it has become very easy to host tournaments regularly.”

Other organizers also echo the same opinion. Surunga Jaycees hosted three editions of Surunga Gold Cup with the help of donations but it got sponsor during the fourth edition held last December. “The organizers have to bear the expenses of the invited teams and players during the tournament, big budget is required to distribute winner’s prizes so we had no option except asking donations to conduct tournaments,” said Surunga Jaycees’ Bhim Bhattarai.

“A local organization Sahara Nepal came in as sponsor for our fourth edition so we conducted the tournament easily. Tournament getting help from sponsors actually motivates organizers,” he added.

When tournament organizers are motivated, it brings positive impact on overall sports says Bhagirath Ale, football coach based in Jhapa. “When organizers are motivated, they host tournaments on a regular basis and it keeps local footballers busy in the game,” said Ale.

Since last December, Jhapa has been busy in organizing many tournaments. After Surunga Gold Cup, Sharanamati Gold Cup was hosted in Sharanamanti VDC. However, Sharanamati had no any sponsor but Kakarbhitta Gold Cup which was organized after Sharanamati, had sponsors. The tournament that was hosted by Kakrbhitta Football Training Center had Mechi Netralaya as the main sponsor and Mechi Bus Entrepreneur Association had sponsored the cash prizes for the winning teams.

 “In the past, there were very less helping hands but now the tournaments get sponsors very easily which is positive sign for football in Jhapa and the whole nation,” said Min Bahadur Basnet, president of Kakarbhitta Gold Cup’s organizing committee.

Jhapa Gold Cup has kicked off on Saturday which has cash prize of Rs 700,000, the biggest prize in the tournament held out of the Kathmandu Valley. Rumpum has been the sponsor of the tournament from last year. Rumpum gives Rs 3 million to Jhapa-XI FC per year and has given Rs 800,000 for the current edition of the Jhapa Gold Cup. Not just the tournament organizers, but players have been benefited with such sponsorships as they are paid good wages and also are awarded with cash prizes if they perform well. The tradition of sponsorship in local tournaments organized in Jhapa is helping local football thrive, according to Basnet.

Players declared best in the individual positions in the Surunga Gold Cup were awarded Rs 20,000 while Rs 5000 was given to the best players in the Kakarbhitta Gold Cup. In the ongoing Jhapa Gold Cup, best players will be rewarded with cash prizes of Rs 25000 to 50,000.

Large number of tournaments in Jhapa is expected to contribute to the development of football in the whole nation, said Basnet.

By Raju Adhikari