About 2.5 years ago through a combination of UKNFS connection with AFC Bournemouth and the request for support from Sahara Association UK immediate past president and UKNFS board member, Min Bahadur Gurung ji, a set of circumstances and subsequent extensive hard work in support to Sahara and with the strong assistance of Hampshire FA, led to preparations in regard to seeking to realise a long held goal of Sahara to have a Nepal – England friendly international.
When these preparations had reached a key stage, Hampshire FA Chair James Pearson secured the engagement and interest of England FA (Wembley) through Head of the FA National League System, Mr Laurence Jones (above: in Kathmandu, with presentation at a meeting with Nepal’s Football Association, ANFA). A meeting facilitated by Hampshire FA’s football complex at Basingstoke saw the breakthrough with Alan Mercel-Sanca for the UKNFS leading on behalf of Sahara Association UK (unfortunately nobody could attend from the association for this meeting, so the UKNFS, that had developed most of the preparation for high level FA engagement on the friendly international initiative, led).
Subsequently, to successfully conclude agreement and authorisation from the FA side, it was requested to the Alan & the UKNFS that a formal meeting and audience with H.E. The Ambassador of Nepal to the UK (also UKNFS Official Patron) Dr Durga Bahadur Subedi. As with the other key, preceding, Basingstoke meeting unfortunately no member of the Sahara UK executive committee was available to attend this essential meeting, due to work commitments and a medical appointment.
The meeting secured by the UKNFS, was a major success with all of the necessary points to be discussed and agreed at formal diplomatic level being covered to the great happiness of H.E. Dr Subedi and Mr Jones. There was valuable input on the UKNFS side on securing that the two-leg match (May 2020: England, and 2021 Kathmandu) relating to the Visit Nepal 2020 initiative (Alan Mercel-Sanca for the UKNFS being a member of the UK & Ireland coordinating committee for VN 2020, at the Ambassador’s request) and be able to generate an initiative concerning diversity & multiculturalism in football with the FA, through the UK Nepali-Gurkha football phenomenon, to help counteract racism in sport. The latter being an area where the UKNFS leads for the Nepali community in terms of robust, effective action: https://uknfs.org/uknfs-support-to-our-swindon-nepali-gurkha-community-in-face-of-experience-of-community-wide-racist-asb-2/