Nepal national football team
The Nepal national football team represents Nepal in international men's Football and is governed by the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA). A member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the Nepalese football team play their home games at Dasarath Rangasala Stadium, Tripureswhor, Kathmandu.
|Association||All Nepal Football Association|
|Sub-confederation||SAFF (South Asia)|
|Head coach||Johan Kalin|
|Most caps||Biraj Maharjan (71)|
|Top scorer||Nirajan Rayamajhi|
Hari Khadka (13)
|Current||165 4 (14 June 2019)|
|Highest||121 (December 1993 – February 1994)|
|Lowest||196 (January 2016)|
|Current||200 2 (16 June 2019)|
|Highest||171 (23 November 1987)|
|Lowest||210 (1 May 1999)|
| China 6–2 Nepal |
(Beijing, China; 13 October 1972)
| Nepal 7–0 Bhutan |
(Kathmandu, Nepal; 26 September 1999)
| South Korea 16–0 Nepal |
(Incheon, South Korea; 29 September 2003)
Football in Nepal had been a national sport as early as 1921 during the Rana dynasty. Several clubs were formed and several domestic tournaments such as the Ram Janaki Cup (1934), and the Tribhuvan Challenge Shield (1948) were organised. In 1951, the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) was founded, and this saw the formation of the Nepal national football team.
In 1963, Nepal appeared in their first international away game in the Aga Khan Gold Cup; the predecessor of the President's Gold Cup, Asia Champion Club Tournament, and Asian Club Championship (now rebranded as the AFC Champions League) after various associations (including ANFA) insisted on entering national teams instead of clubs. After Nepal entered an 18-man squad, ANFA flew the players to Dhaka, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to play their first match. Nepal faced Western Railway, a Pakistani team in the Bangabandhu National Stadium. However, the match was lost 0–7. Two days later, Nepal played the Dhaka Wonders, a local East Pakistani team. Though this match was also lost 0–7. After two disastrous games, Nepal was sure to be knocked out of the preliminary round. The final game was against Dhaka Police Club, though, despite the previous heavy losses, Nepal managed to win the game with a single goal. The goal scorer, Prakash Bikram Shah, became the first Nepali to score on foreign soil. The goal took place at the 19th minute.
Modernisation & golden generation (1970–1999)Edit
In 1970, Nepal became a member of FIFA. Two years later, Nepal joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). With this, Nepal played their first international match on 13 October 1972, where they lost 2–6 to the People's Republic of China. The first Nepali footballer to score the first international goal for Nepal in a FIFA-recognized tournament was Y.B Ghale. Ghale scored against Kuwait in the 1982 Asian Games. Despite the popularity of the game, the lack of appropriate footballing infrastructure and the dearth of trainers, technicians, and other facilities have always been obstacles in the way of the Nepalese FA's endeavours to raise the standard of football among the players of a nation that has an official per capita income of just The woes of Nepalese football, however, have been immensely relieved by FIFA's determination to promote football in Nepal through youth programmes.
In the mid-1980s, FIFA provided financial assistance and sent a number of coaches to help Nepal launch its first youth programme, which was geared towards spotting talent at the grassroots level (such as in schools, for example) and providing young players with the necessary know-how, both on and off the pitch. The initial five-year plan helped half the players groomed under the first youth programme to find a place in the national side, and the team that won the 2 gold medals in the first and sixth South Asian Federation (SAF) Games mostly consisted of the players from that youth programme. Despite Nepal being considered among the lower ranked nations, Nepal has been largely successful in the South Asian Games where they won two gold, two silver, and two bronze medals.
Nepal hosted several notable friendlies from teams outside the Asian Confederation during the mid to late 80s, against Denmark in 1986; USSR and East Germany in 1987; and West Germany in 1989. While at the same time, Nepal still entered tournaments against club sides such as FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast in the 1989 ANFA Cup.
Nepal continued on with their winning ways through several minor tournaments which saw the nation showered with titles including the 1997 and 1998 Governor's Gold Cup, winning gold at the 1993 South Asian Games, and reaching 3rd place in the 1993 South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation Gold Cup (the first edition of the SAFF Championship).
The Nepali football came across a forgettable two years from 2001–2003 when the row between two factions (government-backed and FIFA-backed) led Nepali football into deep trouble. Nepal faced a ban and therefore could not participate in any events and the rankings slipped heavily. The dispute was settled, but not before it contributed in pushing Nepali football backward. Nepal celebrated their 100th international football match in January 2003 when they played Bangladesh in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship. Nepal failed to make any real impact at the tournament. During its 22 years of international participation, the Nepalese team has only played 26 nations outside of South Asia, but it has defeated all of the country's South Asian neighbours during various regional tournaments. Nepal also faced non-AFC teams in competitive tournaments such as Ghana U23 in the 1999 Bangabandhu Cup, and Kazakhstan in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign (although Kazakhstan was a member of the AFC during this match).
Despite many attempts to raise the standard of football, the players of the resource-strapped nation have not been able to make their mark in international football beyond South Asia. In 2003 during the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, Nepal's A national team suffered a number of heavy defeats in international matches outside of South Asia. In a match during the Asian Cup qualifying round in South Korea, the hosts scored 16 goals to no reply. In their six matches, Nepal conceded 45 goals and failed to hit the back of the net even once. However, the qualifying competition for the 2002 FIFA World Cup witnessed one of Nepal's best performances in international football, with the Gorkhalis securing two wins in four matches and scoring 13 goals in two matches against Macao and Iraq. But with the Nepalese national and youth teams failing to achieve any noticeable success at international level and FIFA introducing new age restriction systems in several international tournaments, Nepal recently decided to compete only in the FIFA World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers as well as the SAFF Championship until 2006.
After the marquee appointments of Graham Roberts, Nepal had experienced a fair amount of success following the decade of decline. Nepal won Saff U-19 championship in 2015 and 3 major tournaments in 2016, the Bangabandhu Cup and the AFC Solidarity Cup and won a Gold medal in 2016 South Asian Games. Nepal lost no match in 2016.
The team's home ground are various around the nation one of the ground being Dasarath Rangasala Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal. Holding 18,000 spectators all of which are beautifully seated. It is the biggest stadium in Nepal. It is named after Dasrath Chand, one of the martyrs of Nepal.
Apart from sporting events, the stadium is also used as a music venue for cultural events with Bryan Adams being the most notable act that performed at the site.
Before the 2013 SAFF Championship in Nepal, the stadium underwent a heavy renovation that saw several improvements such as the expansion of seats from 20,000 to 28,000.
Nepal Red & BlueEdit
During the ANFA Cup, the All Nepal Football Association occasionally entered two teams for Nepal; Nepal Red & Nepal Blue. This is very much akin to other South Asian teams such as Pakistan (Pakistan Green & Pakistan White, 1993 SAFF Championship; Pakistan Reds, 1976 Quaid-e-Azam exhibition matches), and Bangladesh (Bangladesh Red, 1983 President's Gold Cup). Nepal Red was a selection of Nepalese players that played as the full Nepal national football team. Whereas, Nepal Blue was effectively the B-team.
Most of the Nepali top players play in the Nepal Red team, and it is also described as "the Nepal senior team", and is captained by the regular national team captain. While Nepal Blue is described as the "second string team".
The national team's kit employs a tricolour of red, blue, and white to reflect the colours of the national flag of Nepal. With red being used for home matches, and blue for away. The pattern in some kits reflects the triangular shaping of the flag, namely the 2013 kit. Nepal's kits are mostly template kits, as opposed to a custom team-specific kit. This is because the Nepal national team isn't lucrative enough to afford kit partnership deals with manufacturers.
Very little is known about the history prior to 1998. However, during the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, the Nepalese national team hired Bijay Shah to provide technical assistance to the squad, while also acting as the assistant coach. At the time, the team didn't have printed sportswear for the tournament. After printing makeshift kits, Bijay was inspired to start a T-shirt printing company known as Attsh, where through the partnership with a US printing company, and colleagues in South Korea, they produced their first batch of kits for the national team prior to the 1999 South Asian Games.
Recent results and fixturesEdit
Results accurate up to 6 June 2019.
* Nepal score always listed first
Win Draw Loss
|Head Coach||Johan Kalin|
|Assistant Coach(es)||Kiran Shrestha|
|Goalkeeping Coach|| Ujjwal Manandhar |
|Technical Director||Takeda Chiaki|
|Media Officer|| Ayush Khadka |
The following players have been called up within the past 12 months and are still eligible for selection.
|Rudi Gutendorf||1981–82||0||0||0||0||—||0||1982 Asian Games|
|Jochen Figge||1984–85||0||0||0||0||—||0||1984 South Asian Games: Gold medalist|
|Joe Kinnear||1987||0||0||0||0||—||0||1987 South Asian Games: Silver medalist|
|Dhan Bahadur Basnet||1989–91||0||0||0||0||—||0|
| Maheshwor Mulmi
|1991–93||0||0||0||0||—||0||1991 South Asian Games
1993 SAARC Gold Cup: third place
|Although both Obermann and Mulmi were heavily involved in the national team during these years, ANFA hired Obermann only as a 'Technical Director'|
|Dhan Bahadur Basnet||1993–94||0||0||0||0||—||0||1993 South Asian Games: Gold medalist|
|Maheshwor Mulmi||1995||0||0||0||0||—||0||1995 Bristol SAFF Gold Cup|
|Yogambar Suwal||1995||0||0||0||0||—||0||1995 South Asian Games|
|Bhim Thapa||1996||0||0||0||0||—||0||1996 AFC Asian Cup: Failed to qualify|
|Yogambar Suwal||1997||0||0||0||0||—||0||1998 FIFA World Cup: Failed to qualify|
|Dhan Bahadur Basnet||1997||0||0||0||0||—||0||1997 SAFF Gold Cup|
|Yoo Kee-Heung||1998||0||0||0||0||—||0||1998 Asian Games|
|Torsten Spittler||1999||0||0||0||0||—||0||1999 SAFF Gold Cup: 4th|
|Stephen Constantine||1999–01||0||0||0||0||—||0||1999 South Asian Games: Silver medalist
2000 ANFA Coca Cola Invitational Tournament: Finalist
|Maheshwor Mulmi||2001||0||0||0||0||—||0||2002 FIFA World Cup: Failed to qualify|
|Yoo Kee-Heung||2003||0||0||0||0||—||0||2003 SAFF Gold Cup: Group stage|
|Toshihiko Shiozawa||2005–06||0||0||0||0||—||0||2005 SAFF Gold Cup: Group stage|
|Shyam Thapa||2006–07||0||0||0||0||—||0||2006 AFC Challenge Cup: Semi-final
2010 FIFA World Cup: Failed to qualify
|Thomas Flath||2008||0||0||0||0||—||0||2008 SAFF Championship: group stages|
|Birat Krishna Shrestha||2008||0||0||0||0||—||0||2008 AFC Challenge Cup: group stage|
|Krishna Thapa||2008–09||0||0||0||0||—||0||2008 Merdeka Tournament: group stages|
|Yogamber Suwal||2009||0||0||0||0||—||0||2009 Prime Minister's Invitational Tournament: champions
2010 AFC Challenge Cup: Failed to qualify
|Krishna Thapa||2009–11||0||0||0||0||—||0||2009 SAFF Championship: group stage|
|Graham Roberts||2011–12||0||0||0||0||—||0||2011 SAFF Championship: Semi-final
2014 FIFA World Cup: Failed to qualify
2012 AFC Challenge Cup: Group stage
|Reached Round 2 in the World Cup qualifiers for the first time|
|Krishna Thapa||2012*||0||0||0||0||—||0||2012 Nehru Cup|
|Jack Stefanowski||2013||0||0||0||0||—||0||2013 SAFF Championship: Semi-final
2014 AFC Challenge Cup: Failed to qualify
|Raju Kaji Shakya||2014*||0||0||0||0||—||0||Exhibition matches (Vs. Philippines)|
|Jack Stefanowski||2014–15||0||0||0||0||—||0||2018 FIFA World Cup: Failed to qualify|
|Dhruba KC||2015*||0||0||0||0||—||0||Exhibition matches (Vs. India)|
|Patrick Aussems||2015–16||3||0||0||3||0||0||2015 SAFF Championship: group stages||Rebuilt the national team|
|Bal Gopal Maharjan||2016||5||3||2||0||60||2.2||2016 Bangabandhu Cup: champions||Earned Nepal's first major title in 23 years|
|Koji Gyotoku||2016–2018||13||4||5||4||31||1.3||2016 AFC Solidarity Cup: champions||Earned Nepal's first AFC title|
|Bal Gopal Maharjan||2018||6||2||0||4||33||1.0||2018 SAFF Championship: Semi-final
2018 Bangabandhu Cup: Group stage
International match recordsEdit
Positive Record Neutral Record Negative Record
|Northern Mariana Islands||1||1||0||0||6||0||+6|
|United Arab Emirates||1||0||0||1||0||11||−11|
- *Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
- **Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.
FIFA World CupEdit
|FIFA World Cup Finals record||FIFA World Cup Qualification record|
|1930||Non-FIFA Member||Non-FIFA Member|
|1986||Did not qualify||3rd (Group 3A)||1||4||0||1||3||0||11||−11|
|1990||4th (Group 4)||0||6||0||0||6||0||28||−28|
|1998||Did not qualify||4th (Group 4)||1||6||0||1||5||2||19||−17|
|2002||3rd (Group 6)||6||6||2||0||4||13||25||−12|
|2010||Did not qualify||Round 1||0||2||0||0||2||0||4||−4|
|2022||To be determined||TBD||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
AFC Asian CupEdit
|AFC Asian Cup finals record||AFC Asian Cup qualification|
|1956||Non-AFC Member||Non-AFC Member|
|1984||Did Not Qualify||5th (Group 2)||0||4||0||0||4||0||30||−30|
|1988||5th (Group 3)||1||4||0||1||3||0||7||−7|
|1996||Did Not Qualify||4th (Group 5)||0||6||0||0||6||2||26||−24|
|2000||4th (Group 5)||3||4||1||0||3||3||13||−10|
|2004||4th (Group E)||3||2||1||0||1||4||2||+2|
|2011||Did Not Qualify||Withdrew & Berth Unsecured*|
|2015||3rd (Group D)**||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
AFC Challenge CupEdit
|AFC Challenge Cup finals record||AFC Challenge Cup qualification record|
|2006||Semi Final||7||3||1||1||1||4||3||+1||No qualification tournament|
|2008||Round 1||3||1||0||2||3||4||1||+3||1st (Group D)||6||2||2||0||0||4||2||+2|
|2010||Did Not Qualify||2nd (Group C)||2||2||0||2||0||1||1||+0|
|2012||Round 1||0||3||0||0||3||0||6||−6||2nd (Group D)||4||3||1||1||1||1||1||+0|
|2014||Did Not Qualify||3rd (Group D)||4||3||1||1||1||6||2||+4|
|Tournament replaced by AFC Solidarity Cup|
AFC Solidarity CupEdit
|2002 to Present||see Nepal national under-23 team|
South Asian GamesEdit
|Age bar restriction after 1999, U23s only.|
In these tournaments, Nepal was sometimes fielded as 'ANFA XI', 'Nepal XI', or 'Nepal Sports Development Authority' despite being the de facto national football team endorsed by the ANFA.
|1975 DCM Cup||Unknown||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1979 President's Gold Cup||Unknown||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1979 Agatha Gold Cup||Unknown||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1979 Aga Khan Gold Cup||Round 1||4||0||1||3||2||14||−12||1|
|1981 President's Gold Cup||Unknown||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1981 Quaid-E-Azam International Cup||Unknown||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1981 King's Cup||Unknown||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1982 Darjeeling Gold Cup||Unknown||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1982 Quaid-e-Azam International Cup||6th||6||1||2||3||3||9||−6||4|
|1982 King's Cup||Round 1||4||1||0||3||2||9||−7||2|
|1982 ANFA Coca Cola Invitational Tournament||Runner up||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1983 Merdeka Tournament||Round 1||5||0||0||1||0||14||-14||0|
|1983 President's Gold Cup||Round 1||2||0||0||2||2||7||−5||0|
|1984 ANFA Cup||Runner up||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1985 ANFA Cup||Semi-final||3||1||1||1||4||4||0||4|
|1985 Quaid-E-Azam International Cup||Round 1||2||0||0||2||2||9||−9||0|
|1986 Quaid-E-Azam International Cup||5th||5||1||1||3||4||17||−13||4|
|1986 Panchayat Silver Jubilee Cup||Semi-final||4||1||1||2||1||4||-3||4|
|1986 ANFA Cup||Runner up||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1987 Quaid-E-Azam International Cup||Round 1||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1987 ANFA Cup||Champions||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1989 Aga Khan Gold Cup||Unknown||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1989 ANFA Cup||Runner up||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1995 Airlines Gold Cup||Unknown||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1997 Governor's Gold Cup||Champion||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||–|
|1998 Governor's Gold Cup||Champion||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||–|
|1998 Durand Cup||Round 1||2||1||0||1||1||1||0||3|
|1999 Bangabandhu Cup||Round 1||2||0||0||2||1||3||−2||0|
|2000 ANFA Coca Cola Invitational Tournament||Runner up||4||2||0||2||4||2||+2||6|
|2004 Governor's Gold Cup||Runner up||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||–|
|2008 Merdeka Tournament||Round 1||3||0||1||2||3||9||−6||1|
|2009 Prime Minister's Invitational Tournament||Champions||4||3||1||0||4||1||+3||10|
|2012 Nehru Cup||Round 1||4||0||1||3||1||9||−8||1|
|2016 Bangabandhu Cup||Champions||5||3||2||0||8||1||+7||11|
|2016 AFC Solidarity Cup||Champions||4||3||1||0||6||2||+4||10|
|2018 Bangabandhu Cup||Round 1||2||0||0||2||0||3||-3||0|
- **Former rules, win = 2pts.
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