Rayzrs retain Kuthu as marquee playerThe defending champions retain goalie Kuthu and coach Bal Gopal Maharjan for the 10-team franchise event.
Nepal Super League (NSL) champions Kathmandu Rayzrs have retained goalie Bikesh Kuthu as marquee player and Bal Gopal Maharjan as coach for the franchise football tournament to be held from April 9 to May 21.
Rayzrs announced Tribhuvan Army FC goalie Kuthu and former national coach Maharjan for the 10-team tournament on the eve of players’ auction to take place on Friday. Their fees, however, were not disclosed. The organisers Nepal Sports and Event Management Pvt Ltd has made it mandatory to recruit a marquee player before the auction.
“I am pleased to be associated with Rayzrs again. Like the last edition, we will come as a balanced and united team. I will not just give my 100 percent but 200 and try to give the best leadership,” said Kuthu who will also wear the captain’s armband.
Coach Maharjan said: “I thank Rayzrs for the opportunity and the credit of victory in the first edition goes to the whole team. Team director Bigyan Raj Sharma had played a key role in boosting the team’s morale.”
Rayzrs owner Bishnu Agrawal said that corporate houses were spending millions for the football teams and they would now invest in infrastructure.
“We would go step by step in a planned manner to develop infrastructure and training facilities for players. We were not able to do so last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Agrawal.
Unlike in the first edition, the tournament will have three new franchises— Jhapa FC, Sporting Ilam De Mechi FC and Birgunj United FC — to rub shoulder against already existing Biratnagar City FC, Lalitpur City FC, FC Chitwan, Pokhara Thunders, Butwal Lumbini FC, Dhangadhi FC and Rayzrs.
Jhapa earlier became the first team to announce their marquee player recruiting Nepali international Anjan Bista in the squad.
Meanwhile, Biratnagar City also announced to have retained their captain Ranjeet Dhimal as marquee player through a social media post on Thursday.
Despite preparing for the auction to take place on Friday, the ‘A’ Division clubs of the country are in loggerheads with NSL and football governing body All Nepal Football Association.
The eight ‘A’ Division clubs among 12 had asked their players not to join NSL sides without their permission as the players were still under their contracts and teams were also set to play knockout tournaments outside the capital city.
Rayzrs director Sharma, also the league committee chairman of ANFA, said that they would solve all the issues related to players’ recruitment before NSL kicks off.
“As we are very close to the auction, we need to announce marquee players. But there’s a lot of time before NSL kicks off. It is just a process for now. If a player is not released by his ‘A’ Division Club, he would not play,” said Sharma. “Now the process of releasing players from respective ‘A’ Division sides would begin. Both ANFA and NSL should have held discussions with the respective clubs before publishing players’ lists for auction so that it became free of controversy.”