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Donosti Cup participating Nepali girls rise country’s name in football

Posted 5 months ago by Sandeep Bhattarai

The World Cup fever has just ended, and the Nepali football team comprising 17 young girls from remote Mugu village in Karnali Province has just returned from participating in the Donosti Cup 2018, an international tournament for youth sports.

The international fete achieved in football by the Nepali youths below 14 is few and far between at a time when the country is moving at a slow pace in the popular sport. This achievement is even great in particular for the girls pursuing school level education (grades six to 10) from remote Mugu where there lacks even a good football ground to play on.

In the Tournament played in Spain on July 1-7, the Nepali team played against four teams including world’s popular clubs Real Madrid C.F. and FC Barcelona. The total 7,500 athletes from 33, 630 teams from over 30 countries participated in the tournament.

The Nepali girl’s team includes local residents of Mugu Sunmati Buda, Rajya Laxmi Buda, Roshani Kami, Satya Laxmi Buda, Yamuna Chaulagain, Bipana Malla, Sangita Thapa, Pushpa Shahi, Urmila Baduwal, Satya Buda, Swastika Malla, Bhagya Laxmi Bham, Sochpura Mahatara, Himali Shahi, Rita Rokaya, Ramkali Bohara and Kamdevi Baduwal.

Sharing about her international football journey from Mugu to Spain, Roshani viewed that Nepal’s girls could be shown nationally and internationally once they are provided opportunities.

“Being face-to-face with snows for my entire life so far, I was dumbfounded at my first sight of skyscrapers of Kathmandu on my football journey to Spain. I am filled with self-encouragement to do better ahead for the development of the society, following my participation in the tournament,” said another team member Sochpura. This was the first time when they saw vehicles or planes during their football journey to Spain.

They also inspected and acquired information about the stadium of Barcelona with a capacity of a accommodating round 96,000 people, and had opportunities to exchange experiences with athletes from all over the world.
‘Sunakali’ a documentary by journalist Bhojraj Bhatt on the passion, attraction and craze of the local girls of Mugu about football and their struggle to realise their football passion, is a way for the girls’ football journey to Spain.

Journalist Bhojraj Bhatt saw the local girls throwing a snow fall as a football during his trip to the mountainous district in the province and the scene gave him the idea on making the around 50-minute documentary in 2015. The documentary has attempted to reveal the passion, attraction and craze of these girls for the popular sport amidst poverty, hunger and other sorts of lacks. It not only won hearts of its viewers, but won the 23 international awards and a cash prize of US dollar 18,000. It was screened in the 186 festivals held in 65 countries. The documentary had also drawn the attention of the FIFA, the international football governing body.

As the documentary producer said, the FIFA recognised the documentary and renamed it “Meet the Himalayan Messi” in 2017.

Though the ‘Sunakali team’ had been invited to the international event on the basis of same documentary, its original characters are not in the team as most members had already married off to give in to the trend of marrying girls early in remote Mugu. The new team consists of new faces.

Back at home, the Nepali team received honour and accolades. Defence Career Academy Nepal (DCAN), Thapathali honoured them with various presents and jerseys amid a programme.

Speaking at the event, DCAN’s patron and former Chief of Army Staffs Rookmangud Katawal praised the girls, while announcing a full scholarship from the DCAN for among the team wishing to join security force after taking training from DCAN.

Former Inspector General of Armed Police Force Shailendra Kumar Shrestha expressed happiness over the international football achievement brought by the girls from remote village, praising them for elevating the country’s pride through this football participation.

-Krishna Raj Gautam, RSS

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