Kathmandu Rayzrs claim Nepal Super League trophyOloumou’s first-half goal earns Kathmandu Rayzrs a 1-0 win over Dhangadhi in the final match of first ever franchise football tournament of the country.
Messouke E Oloumou scored the solitary goal for Kathmandu Rayzrs as they edged Dhangadhi FC 1-0 in the final to clinch the Nepal Super League, the first ever franchise football league of the country, at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwor on Saturday.
The Cameroonian scored the decisive goal in the 21st minute, extending his tally to highest eight goals, as Kathmandu got the better of national team captain Kiran Lumbu-led side. The victory also helped Kathmandu avenge two defeats – a 3-0 loss in the league round and a 2-1 extra time upset in the playoff – of the tournament.
With the victory, winners Kathmandu, owned by Yamaha Morang Auto Works, went richer by Rs3.5 million while Dhangadhi owned by Go Dreamers Private Limited got a purse of Rs2 million.
Kathmandu, led by national team’s second choice custodian Bikesh Kuthu and guided by former national coach Bal Gopal Maharjan, were a well-organised side and deserving winners. Dhangadhi, meanwhile, had to pay for the under-performance of their prolific Nigerian forward Oladipo Olawale Afeez, who was not completely match fit due to a hamstring injury and had to be substituted in the 69th minute. Afeez is the second highest scorer of the tournament with four goals to his name.
“We wanted to keep the trophy in Kathmandu and managed to do that,” Kathmandu coach Maharjan said. “After we lost two games in the league rounds, there were improvements after every game. The foreigners played key roles in guiding us towards the trophy.”
Kathmandu captain Kuthu said that he was happy to win the first ever franchise league in his first captaincy. He credited the victory for the sound management and teamwork.
Both sides started the game with a cautious approach and Kathmandu were able to get on the scoresheet in their very first real attempt on goal. The pacey forward Oloumou gave a quick finishing touch fed by Bishwas Shrestha who intercepted the ball from Bishal Rai. Oloumou beat the advancing custodian Limbu as he cleverly fired a low drive from inside the box through a narrow space between defenders Ashok Khawas and Dinesh Rajbanshi.
“I am extremely happy to win the final game. It was a long road to the final and not an easy one,” said Oloumou after the match. About his match winning goal, the Cameroonian said: “Once I received the pass, I didn’t think I need to control it.”
In the 29th minute Kathmandu’s Stephen Binong ended up firing inches wide from the left side of the area as Dhangadhi neither created a single remarkable threat in the first half nor created pressure.
Dhangadhi piled pressure in the second half but they lacked the cutting edge in the attacking department. In the 53rd Dhangadhi made an attractive move only for their midfielder Bishal Rai to head Nishan Limbu’s cross far wide. Two minutes later Kathmandu custodian Kuthu punched defender Ashok Khawas’ right flank strike to safety.
Binong came closer to scoring for Kathmandu in the 65th but goalie Limbu made a long-stretched dive to deny his well placed shot on goal. Kathmandu could have doubled the scoring in the 74th but Oloumou’s free kick ricocheted off the bar after goalie Limbu managed to get his fingertip on the ball. In the 88th Kathmandu’s Pujan Uperkoti ended up shooting above the bar from 20 yards.
Lalitpur City FC’s forward and captain Anjan Bista was named the best forward while Oloumou got the best midfielder award. Dhangadhi’s Dinesh Rajbanshi was named best defender and Limbu was named best goalkeeper. Kathmandu coach Bal Gopal Maharjan was declared the best coach. Each of them won a purse of Rs100,000. Kathmandu’s Bishwas Shrestha was named emerging player and won Rs50,000 while Butwal Lumbini won the fair play award.
The three-week long tournament organised by Nepal Sports and Event Management featured seven franchise teams. The tournament was held in the league cum playoff format where the top four teams after the completion of round robin league entered into playoffs.