In a recent development in Nepali football, ten Martyrs Memorial A Division League clubs have decided not to release their players for the national team camp for the SAFF Championship until the ongoing top-tier league concludes. This decision, taken amidst an intense title and relegation battle, reflects the balancing act between club commitments and national duty that players often have to navigate.
The Decision and Its Implications
The decision was made by the clubs in response to the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) calling players for the national team camp without prior discussion with the clubs. The clubs have argued that the title and relegation battle is at its peak, and releasing players for the national camp could potentially affect their performance in the league matches. This decision highlights the need for better coordination and communication between the ANFA and the clubs to ensure the smooth functioning of both the league and the national team camp.
The SAFF Championship and the National Team Camp
The SAFF Championship, scheduled to take place from June 21 to July 4 in Bengaluru, India, is a significant event in South Asian football. Nepal's Italian coach Vincenzo Alberto Annes had named a 30-member preliminary squad and called them to the camp. However, the players will now join the camp only after the conclusion of the league, which is scheduled to end on June 10.
The Protests Against ANFA
In addition to the decision regarding the national team camp, the ten clubs have also decided to play wearing black armbands as a sign of protest against ANFA for their reluctance to release the remaining preparation fees for the league, match money, and cash incentives to the player of the match. This protest underscores the need for transparency and accountability in the management of football in Nepal.
The decision of the clubs to release players for the SAFF camp only after the league concludes is a significant development in Nepali football. It underscores the need for a balanced approach that respects both club commitments and national duty. As the league concludes and the players join the national camp, it will be interesting to see how this decision impacts the performance of the national team in the upcoming SAFF Championship.