KATHMANDU, Oct 16: A victory parade was taken out in the capital on Monday to celebrate the Nepali national cricket team´s second major international title in a month. However, it was nothing like one.
The Nepali team on Friday had jointly lifted the title of ACC Trophy Elite along with host UAE. The team had also secured its berth in the World Cricket League Division 3 a few weeks ago after emerging champion in Division 4.
The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), which had earlier declared to provide Rs 30,000 each to all members of the squad, had organized the victory parade that began from Hotel Crown Plaza, Naxal.
However, CAN officials including its president Tanka Angbuhang, general secretary Ashok Nath Pyakurel and the vice-presidents didn´t attend the event. Only a handful of CAN officials took part in the victory parade. Angbuhang was also absent at the Tribhuvan International Airport when the team returned home after winning Division 4.
The victory parade, accompanied by traditional Nepali music instruments, had started from Naxal and ended at the National Sports Council (NSC) premises, Tripureshwar via Jai Nepal cinema hall, Ratna Park, Bag Bazaar, Putali Sadak, Bhrikuti Mandap, Bhadrakali and Shahid Gate. The players were carried on a truck.
The pedestrians waved to the cricketers to applaud the achievements of the triumphant team. About 100 cricket fans accompanied the team throughout the victory parade chanting "Long live Nepali cricket team, Nepali cricket is our pride".
But the atmosphere at NSC, the apex sports body, was just the opposite.
Neither was there microphone nor any banner. There were hardly enough chairs for the players. The fans present there were furious when the emcee addressed the team as the winner of ACC Elite Trophy held in Malaysia, Dubai.
In the absence of Yuvaraj Lama, the member secretary of NSC, treasurer Indra Thing was scheduled to address the team. But the irked fans shouted slogans against CAN and NSC forcing the NSC staffers to get a microphone. They shouted: "Tanka Angbuhang resign from your post, don´t humiliate cricketers, we don´t need CAN".
"A CAN official telephoned me 15 minutes before the team arrived at NSC and told me to felicitate the team," said Thing, "NSC had received the letter about the event yesterday but I was unaware of it. This event was organized in a hurry, so it was mismanaged and I apologize for it. Please do not take this as humiliation of cricketers," said Thing who promised to honor the team before Dashain.
Speaking at the function, Nepali team skipper Paras Khadka said that the team was delighted with the rally but the closing ceremony was mismanaged. "The closing ceremony was not good which made the whole event charm-less," said Khadka adding, "Our responsibility is to play cricket rather than make the environment for the game."
"Everyone should understand that this is an important period for Nepali cricket and everyone should understand their responsibilities," Khadka said.
Former national team player Dipendra Chaudhary expressed serious dissatisfaction over the reception at NSC. "A month ago, the government felicitated the members of the squad with Rs 300,000 each but the same team who achieved the greatest ever victory for Nepal has been ignored. They treated us as if the team had won a local club-level tournament."