Nepal is heading to the World Cup. But you may have never heard of the sportAfter securing second place in the Asian championship last year, Nepal is heading to India to participate in the Pesapallo World Cup.
Pesapallo made its foray into Nepal a little over two years ago. But in that short time, the game has established the country at an international level.
Nepal is now preparing to take part in 10th Pesapallo World Cup, to be held in Pune, India, from November 26 to 30 later this year. Thirteen players have been called up for a closed camp training in Bahundangi in Jhapa as part of their preparations for the World Cup. A coach from Finland has been training the team in the camp. Twelve countries including Nepal are taking part in the world cup.
“Pesapallo has established itself during a short span of time in Nepal,” said Pesapallo Association Nepal President Paras Mani Dahal. “But due to government apathy, the expected results have not been achieved in our country,” he said. Dahal said the game started in Nepal from 2018. The little known game is yet to be recognized by the National Sports Council. “We have received no objection letter from the Nepal Olympic Committee. We have registered the Association at the District Administration Office in Kathmandu,” said Dahal.
Dahal said the lack of interest from the state has also hampered their preparations. He said they have collected around Rs 1.5 million from the office-bearers and have been spending that amount in the team’s preparation. “Our preparations would have been much better if the government had helped us. The low budget has restricted our preparations,” said Dahal.
Nepal’s Pesapallo team had secured the second position in the Asian Pesapallo Championship in Dhaka last year. Pesapallo Asian Committee vice president Prasant Dahal said they had struggled to send players to take part in that competition. “We could have improved on our position had there been sufficient funds for preparations,” he said.
Nepal’s Finn coach Miko lauded Nepal’s achievement in the sport despite taking up the sport just a few years earlier.
“I see a bright future of Pesapallo in Nepal. Players are hard-working and enthusiastic. That is a good sign,” said the Finnish coach. Miko believes Nepal’s performance in the World Cup will be better if they prepare well, predicting the sport to establish Nepal at the international stage very soon.
What is Pesapallo?
Pesapallo is a fast-moving bat and ball sport. It is the national game of Finland. Inspired by baseball, the Finn starting playing the game since the 1920s. This game also has some presence in other countries such as Germany, Sweden Switzerland, Australia and Canada. It is rapidly growing in Asian countries too. A total of 21 players—nine in the batting side and 12 in fielding side—take part in the competition.
The batting team tries to score by hitting the ball and running through the bases, while the fielding team attempts to put the batter and runners out. Unlike baseball, the ball is pitched vertically in Pesapallo.
Nepal squad: Bidhan Pokharel, Ishwor KC, Sujan Karki, Rajesh Mainali, Sudip Bhurtel, Lhakpa Singh Yolmo, Raju Shrestha, Sankalpa Shrestha, Samir Shrestha, Atit Khanal, Mukunda Poudel, Sujal Upreti, Sakriya Thapa Magar.