As 2021 ends, and despite the impacts of Covid which in early May 2020, just two weeks before the historic event, for the sadly but very necessary health safety containment reasons, the Nepal National Team – England C Team, friendly international football match — that the UKNFS played a central role in enabling, in support to 10+ years of endeavour by our friends at Sahara UK Association — had to be cancelled, and remains postponed. The UKNFS wishes to record a huge Thank You to the crucial role in enabling the friendly international initiative to the Head of the England FA National League System, Mr Laurence Jones, and to our own/UKNFS lead Mr Alan Mercel-Sanca who negotiated enablement of the initiative. We also record our thanks to Mr Min Bahadur Gurung, UKNFS Advisor and former President of Sahara UK Association: but for his hard work whilst Sahara UK President, the negotiations mentioned would not have been possible. Beyond this, we wish to record our fullest thanks to former Ambassador of Nepal to the UK, H.E. Dr Durga Bahadur Subedi for his crucial support.
However, the UKNFS work in this area arose from more substantial goals. These were the realisation that the Nepali — largely still Nepali-Gurkha contexts related — football phenomenon in the UK could both if effectively profiled, both increase the Nepali presence in grassroots football and ultimately profile the latter to the County FA’s and England FA, and through the Gurkha context contribute a powerful narrative that in a new way could counteract racism generally, including in football contexts.
The UKNFS on these two very important areas, has taken much action over the past 2+ years, with in particular playing a central role in inspiring a broader, Nepali & Nepali-Gurkha football participation supportive initiative at pan-England level with our friends at the Football Supporters Association (FSA), Kick it Out (KIO), in conjunction with our main/UK national level non-Nepali/multicultural partnering organisation, One Community Hampshire & Dorset (OCHD: www.ochd.org.uk). In conjunction with OCHD, the UKNFS particularly wishes to salute Mr Anwar Uddin, FSA Fans for Diversity Lead for his dynamic lead and support on the initiative, which you can read about here.
Separate from, yet directly and very importantly related to it’s inspiration and first stage and current next stage development, the UKNFS two years before began to under it’s Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported UK Nepali cultural and social heritage resource project to research with UK Nepali community support, about the Nepali football phenomenon. You can read more about the related information resources (that include Prime Minister of Nepal, President of The Royal British Legion, and Head of England FA’s National League System dedications) through the following links:
The UKNFS is privileged to provide this news article at the end of 2021, as this year marks a century since football became through the British / British Army connection a formally recognised sport in Nepal! Although the friendly international football match the UKNFS played a central role in enabling has been postponed due to the Covid epidemic, the Nepal football phenomenon history recording we have enabled through the resources referred to provides a record of global as well as England and Nepal value provides a lasting testimony at the end of that 100 years for all interested in the growth at world level of football.
More importantly, at this symbolic time, of conclusion of the centenary, for all who care about football as ‘the Beautiful Game’ the England context diversity & inclusion in football, and it’s anti-racism educational dynamic provides an in ‘the here and now’ provides perhaps the most fitting tribute to those who in Nepal (players, fans, authorities) who brought football, through the British/English – Nepali/Gurkha-Nepali connection, as a bond of incalculable People to People benefit in an age where in the UK racism still sadly exists.