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Kathmandu: The All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) started its first-ever Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Futsal Coaching Course (Level 1) at the ANFA Complex on Sunday.

Nineteen coaches holding the AFC ‘C’ Football Coaching Certificate attended the six-day course which was conducted by AFC Instructor Hossein Shams assisted by Darshan Bhaktaraj.

The course was designed to create futsal coaches for the development of the growing game. The participants were made up-to-date with the latest changes and improvements in futsal coaching, covering the practical and theoretical aspects of the game.

ANFA Executive Committee member and Futsal Committee Chairman Ramesh Rayamahji, who opened the course, said: “Futsal is a very popular format of football in Nepal. We have about 100 futsal pitches in Kathmandu alone and more than one million people who are directly or indirectly involved in the game. This is the first step in developing the game systematically in the country.”

ANFA Futsal Committee Vice Chairman Lok Bahadur Shahi said: “This course has established ANFA’s committee as the recognised body for futsal activities in Nepal, because  previously though there were various tournaments organised in Kathmandu, they were not organised by a recognised unit.

“Our next step will be to organise refereeing courses and finally, we will go for a nation-wide league. All these programmes will help us form a good national team.”

ANFA Acting General Secretary Sanjib Mishra said the importance of the game in cultivating young talent should be acknowledged. A case in point is former Nepal football national team players such as Nabin Lama and Shyam Nepali who began their careers in futsal.

Shams exhibited case studies from Vietnam on the rise of the game in the country, saying: “I remember futsal in Vietnam started in 2006, and now they are one of the top teams in Asia. In the recently held World Cup qualifiers, Vietnam defeated powerhouses like Japan. I believe Nepal can achieve that but in order to get there, organising a professional league is key.”

Photo: ANFA