Newly-formed Sky Goals set tough ambitionThe Chakrapath-based side will play the curtain raiser match of the ‘A’ Division Futsal League finals against Rising Club of Dharan on September 18.
Formed just ahead of the qualifiers for 'A' Division National Futsal League in April, Sky Goals FC emerged as a new sensation after they qualified for the finals from Bagmati Province. The Chakrapath-based side are gearing up preparations for the 'A' Division National Futsal League set to take place from September 18 to October 8 in Pokhara with eyes on the trophy.
The team got formal shape after captain Sanjog Chamling's proposal to form a new team comprising active futsal and football players was accepted by Chakrapath's Machhindra Sky Goals Futsal. The Futsal, however, was sceptical that Sky Goals would qualify for finals. But they secured a place in the finals as one of the semi-finalists of the Bagmati qualifiers.
"In fact we—management, players and officials—never believed we would qualify for finals in our very first attempt," coach Ramesh Sinkeman said. "We are excited by our unbelievable success. Now the club management has pinned high hopes on us and has been very helpful."
Sky Goals were defeated by Dhuku Futsal, the winners of Bagmati qualifiers, in the semi-final and they were selected for finals as one of the top four finishers.
While the qualifiers were played on artificial turf, the finals will be played on a mat surface which meets the international standard. Coach Sinkeman is aware of the challenges of playing on a different type of surface.
"Playing on the mat is different from playing on turf. Everything including balance, control, tackle, pass are different on the mat surface. We feel like we have been playing futsal for the first time," said Sinkeman.
The team has been training on parketing surface for the last one week. "There will be a high risk of injury playing on the mat surface especially because we’re used to artificial turf," said Sinkeman.
A majority of Sky Goals players have football backgrounds. Apart from captain Chamling and Nirmal Gurung, all the players come from football. Amit Tamang, who has been playing football for a long time and was part of the 'A' division Sankata Club last league, will be playing for Sky Goals.
Coach Sinkeman is confident of a top four finish in the tournament. "The team is studded with experienced and young players. But every team in the finals has been picked through qualifiers and anyone can beat others," said Sinkeman.
"We don't think it will be a tough task for us to finish among the top four. But the title fight could be really tough. However, winning the trophy is the only ambition of our team."
According to Sinkeman, the management is positive about giving continuity to the team in future as well. "We have been training regularly since last month. The management has met all our requirements so far. They have full faith in us," he said.
Defender Tamang, a product of ANFA Academy and member of the first national futsal team formed by All Nepal Football Association in 2017, said that he joined futsal to maintain fitness. "As there was no regular footballing and training after the first coronavirus outbreak, I had been training at futsal court to maintain fitness. The Sky Goals approached me and I joined the team," he said.
Sky Goals will play the curtain raiser match of the finals taking on the Rising Club of Dharan on September 18.
The 10 teams vying in the finals will play in the round robin format. The teams winning the top four positions will play qualifiers and eliminator matches for a place in the final.
The winners of the tournament will take home Rs1 million while the runners-up will get half the amount. The best goalkeeper, fixo (defender), pivot (forward), emerging player and best coach of the tournament will receive Rs25,000 each.
All matches of the finals will be telecast on Kantipur Television and the digital platform ekantipur.com. Turnpike Events Private Limited holds the marketing promotion and management responsibility for the tournament.