Amidst the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the Nepal Super League being played at a breakneck speed in front of a completely empty Dasarath stadium in Kathmandu has raised a few eyebrows,including yours truly.
The tournament is only two weeks old, unfortunately, there is no respite in sight for players who have been playing non stop football.
There is no denying the fact that players have been denied proper attention, care and rest, jeopardizing their well-being.
Since players are obliged to play for the franchised teams during the contractual period,they have no choice but to play regardless. As a consequence,they have been forced to endure the rigorous of the punishing schedule.
No player or coach wants to risk his career by slamming and criticizing the challenging and tough fixture scheduling.
In sports,be it individual or team, it is very important that athletes are physically fit so that they can perform at 100 percent.
A ball game like football is extremely demanding that involves high risks and rates of injury in players.Apart from grinding on the pitch,teams have to prepare for every match, which involves long hours of workouts,training sessions and so forth.
Research studies have shown that the recovery time for players is minimum 48 hours to 72 hours after every match.
Let us not forget that players are humans not robots. It is common sense that they require adequate rest after each match so that they are physically and mentally fit for the next game.
The strenuous packed fixture of Nepal Super League is starting to take a heavy toll on players and managers as they helplessly cope with the demands of a hectic schedule.
We have witnessed teams playing matches, one after another, in a short space of time without proper rest and recovery time .
The brutal schedule is causing injuries to players right and left. Although teams are allowed to make five substitutes during the course of play, the team roster is limited to 20 players. To me it is totally irrelevant because it is not helping one bit.
It is getting to the point where players can no longer take. They are mentally and physically less prepared for the challenge and steadily inching towards the saturation point, which is a matter of grave concern.
The latest devastating wave of corona has added fuel to the fire. Players are exposed despite safety measures in place. They carry the fear of contracting the virus, spiking anxiety and depression in them.
If the country is in a lockdown,what is stopping the government and the organizer from suspending the tournament? They are deliberately putting players and coaches at risk.
Their safety and health matters now more than ever. I am totally flabbergasted that the media outlets in Nepal have chosen to remain silent on the issue,for reasons unknown.
I get the impression that they have little or no concern for players and coaches safety,on and off the pitch. By ignoring they are doing a great disservice to them I totally agree that the first ever franchise based National Football League is by far the most important breakthrough in the history of Nepal Football.The tournament has my full support.
My only objection is the timing of the tournament and the hectic nature of the schedule that totally defies logic and disregards players and coaches’ health and safety.
I have nothing against the organizer of the National Super League, Nepal Sports and Event Management.They deserve every bit of credit for putting together an event of this magnitude.
All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) is responsible for scheduling the tournament and tournament fixtures without foresight and proper planning.
They did it with the sole intention to get much credit and mileage out of the tournament. ANFA President Karma Tesering Sherpa and his team should feel ashamed of their actions.
By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax VA, USA
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