Pankaj Bikram Nembang elected new ANFA presidentThe immediate past senior vice president defeats Karma Tsering Sherpa, who was eying a re-election for a second term, by six votes at the 21st ANFA Ordinary Congress.
The 21st ANFA Ordinary Congress elected Pankaj Bikram Nembang as the new president of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) on Monday.
The immediate past senior vice president Nembang now starts his full four years of office after he defeated sitting president Karma Tsering Sherpa by six votes at the Congress held in Budanilkantha, Kathmandu.
Out of 84 votes cast, Nembang received 45 votes while Sherpa obtained 39 votes. Bhaktapur and Sindhuli districts did not qualify for Congress after failing to conduct elections on time while ANFA executive member Prabin Kumar Yadav, who was granted voting rights from Siraha district, was not eligible for voting after failing to tender his resignation before deadline.
“Nepali football needs to be united,” said Nembang. “ANFA does not share a sound relationship with districts and clubs. ANFA does not have a good relationship with players. We need to work on that.”
Nembang also said that the first meeting of the new executive committee will decide on the player-coach row.
Abdullah Almutairi had travelled to Kuwait without 11 senior players including captain and goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu after the coach forced ten footballers to leave the camp following a dispute over accommodation arrangements a month ahead of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
“We will seek resolution to the player-coach tussle after a thorough discussion on the recommendations made by the probe committee,” Nembang added.
The three-member committee formed to investigate the player-coach tension has recommended ANFA to remove the coach after the Qualifiers.
The Kuwaiti coach’s Nepal tenure was already hanging by a thread after Nepal lost all three matches of the qualifiers.
Almutairi and Nembang have been at constant loggerheads, and with the latter’s election to the hot seat, speculations are now rife that the new ANFA leadership will likely part ways with the controversial coach.
Just days before the election, the ANFA was dragged into controversy after the football governing body was accused of signing a betting-related agreement with a company.
Sherpa leadership refuted the allegations.
“We will issue a white paper. We will form a committee and bring the truth out in the open,” said Nembang.
Referring to the result, Nembang said, “They have not lost the election. They have become runners-up. We always hope for their valuable suggestions in the development of football.”
The 51-year-old Nembang was one of the close aides of Sherpa when he was elected as vice president at a Congress in May 2018. The two rivals worked together to break the two-decade long stronghold of disgraced former president Ganesh Thapa four years ago. The then elected executive committee had picked Nembang as the senior vice president a year later.
The Nembang faction had accused Sherpa of committing financial irregularities, imposing dictatorship and promoting favouritism rather than development of football in the country during his tenure at the ANFA.
Sherpa, however, had insisted that he could not work as promised due to non-cooperation from the Nembang supporters in the executive committee and Covid-19 pandemic.
Nembang, who hails from Jhapa, had obtained the central membership of ANFA in 2015 and worked in the capacity of a member for four years before his election as vice president.
Sherpa’s former attache Bir Bahadur Khadka, who had been elected as vice president four years ago and had later shook hands with Nembang, was elected as the senior vice president. Khadka received 44 votes to pip Shikshit Parajuli, who got 40 votes. Parajuli had raced against Khadka from the Sherpa panel at the Congress.
Three out of four supporters of the winning panel—Dawa Lama (48), Dipak Khatiwada (47) and Birat Jung Shahi (47)—were elected as vice presidents while Dirgha Bahadur KC (43), a candidate from Sherpa’s team, was victorious for the fourth vice presidential position.