Maharjan takes over from KojiThe All Nepal Football Association (Anfa) on Wednesday appointed Bal Gopal Maharjan as the interim head coach of the national football team for the upcoming Saff Championship beginning from September 4-15.
The All Nepal Football Association (Anfa) on Wednesday appointed Bal Gopal Maharjan as the interim head coach of the national football team for the upcoming Saff Championship beginning from September 4-15.
Maharjan takes over from head coach Gyotoku Koji after the Japanese national was entangled into visa issues. The Anfa management had also made up its mind to relieve Koji of his duties following Nepal’s poor performance in the Asian Games men’s football where the team failed to beat Pakistan and missed out on history by reaching the second round.
The decision was taken by Anfa’s emergency committee headed by its President Karma Tshering Sherpa. Koji was barred from entering Nepal by the Department of Immigration until the end of this year after he was found to have been in the country without work permit. His tourist visa had also expired in July. He had not returned with the Nepali U-23 team that arrived in Kathmandu on Monday from the Asian Games ongoing in Jakarta.
Former national team midfielder Maharjan had guided Nepal to the Bangabandhu Gold Cup football tournament title in Bangladesh in January 22, 2016. Under him, Nepal had also won the Saff U-19 Football Championship in 2015.
Anfa General Secretary Indra Man Tuladhar said the football governing body was in a hurry to prepare for the Saff Championship which Bangladesh is holding. “If we begin the process of managing work permit for him (Koji) it will take us at least 15 days from now. We have to begin the preparations at the earliest and Bal Gopal was the option for us,” Tuladhar told the Post on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Tuladhar had said the Anfa leadership was in internal discussion if “Koji will continue as the head coach of national team or not.” “The defeat against Pakistan (in the Asian Games) was a big shock to Nepal and that forced us to rethink about his future with the national team,” Tuladhar had said on Tuesday.
Nepal had lost all three matches of Group ‘D’ and finished at the bottom of four-team table. They had gone 1-0 down against Japan and 2-0 against Vietnam before crashing to an unexpected defeat against Pakistan.
Nepal will take on Pakistan and Bhutan in the Saff Championship, the biggest football tournament of the South Asian region.