Nepal’s SAFF 2013 Journey

If you have not heard or seen, South Asian Football Federation Championship 2013 was one of the major events that just took place in Nepal. This event is a competition for men’s national football teams of South Asia. This event was by far one of the biggest sports event that has ever taken place in Nepal. With audiences ranging to tens of thousands, SAFF 2013 was an event that sports fans of this Himalayan country did not want to miss.

Filling up Dashrath Rangashala, the largest multi-purpose stadium of Nepal, fans were always there to root for Nepal’s football team. SAFF games was in the talks of almost every citizen of Nepal. Nepal has been participating in each and every SAFF competition since it was started on 1993. This was the second time Nepal hosted the tournament and this was the country’s tenth appearance. The first time Nepal hosted SAFF was on 1997.

Rangashala Day 1

As hosts, Nepal was one of the first teams to play the opening games for SAFF Championship 2013. The other team being Bangladesh. The first group stage match was scheduled as Nepal VS Bangladesh on August 31, 2013, Nepal time: 6:30 pm. Nepali fans lined up outside the freshly polished stadium to get a chance to watch this first game. Thousands other national audiences tuned in via live TV and even more international audiences tuned in from YouTube’s live broadcast from the official SAFF 2013 channel.

Nepal Vs. BangladeshThe first match was a splendid start for Nepal. Nepal was able to secure a 2-0 win against Bangladesh. Those two goals were scored before half time. With jumping and roaring sports fans all over the stadium, this match was won and every Nepalese fan went home happy on that day.

The second match of Nepal was between Nepal and Pakistan. This was also a group level match and was scheduled on September 3, 2013, Nepal time: 6:30 pm. Even more fans were interested in seeing this match. Match tickets sold out even quicker than before. Fans carried national flags, painted their face and wore supporting outfits to the game.

Nepal Vs. PakistanThe second game wasn’t that easy for the Nepalese team. Pakistan managed to score in the first 14 minutes of the game. This early score against Nepal was quite disheartening to many. Nepal tried to level the score with numerous attempts but they could not succeed. The game continued for 90 minutes and a 4 minutes added time was announced. Pakistan was still in lead with one goal difference. Some fans were even seen leaving the stadium. But at the 90+2 minutes of the game, a miracle happened and the Nepalese team could score back. Points were leveled and fans roared the loudest that night. The game ended in a draw but Nepalese fans went home happy, chanting the name of Nepal into the night.

The third game was considered as one of the most important games in the tournament. The opponents for Nepal this time was none other than its closest neighbor, India. The opponents on that day was thought to be tough with their history of winnings against Nepal. But Nepalese fans had high hopes particularly because Nepal had been playing like never before. Performance till date was the best that team Nepal had ever shown in their home ground.

SAFF Championship 2013: Nepal VS India Full Match

The third game was scheduled a bit earlier at 3:30 pm local time on September 5, 2013. Everyone was excited about this match. Nepal played brilliantly against the neighbor scoring two goals. India was able to return a goal at extra time. Nonethless, Nepal was the champion of that night beating India in a 2-1 victory after a really long time. Crowds of people celebrated, shook hands and danced when this happened. Later, social media flooded with news of this historic win.

Nepal Group Leader 2013 SAFFSource: Wikipedia

For Nepal, these two victories and one draw were enough to guarantee a top spot in Group A of SAFF Championship 2013. Nepal went into the semi-finals as flying champions. Nepal’s opponent was decided as Afganistan for semi-finals. Semi-finals were marked on September 8, 2013 Nepal time: 6:30 pm. Tickets sold out faster than ever and thousands of fans were disappointed for not being able to get hold of one. Only the luckiest ones got a chance to step inside the stadium. Outside the stadium was the largest commotion ever with painters, flag and team jersey sellers flocking everywhere. Everyone had the highest hopes.

But alas, luck did not favor the Nepalese team and Afghanistan scored a simple goal. The score stuck at 1 – 0 with Nepalese team trying to catch on. This match continued for the next 90 minutes and although Nepal got some golden opportunities including a penalty shot, our team could not score back. The game was lost, fans became dissappointed, some were even enraged and Nepal’s history of never being able to reach the SAFF finals repeated.

It is to be noted that this was one of the best performances of Nepal in an international level competition. This performance shows that Nepal has got a football team that can perform really well. The improvement of our team has been seen over the years. This brings us to the point that our team can perform well. With organizations like Sahara Academy, Nepal’s football future looks bright. Let’s pray for the best.

If you want, you can always watch the matches of SAFF 2013 hosted at YouTube. Here are Nepal’s matches:

Nepal VS Bangladesh
Nepal VS Bangladesh Thumb
Full Match
Just HighlightsNepal VS India
Nepal VS India Thumb
Full Match
Just Highlights 




Nepal VS Pakistan
Nepal VS Pakistan Thumb
Full Match
Just HighlightsNepal VS Afghanistan
Nepal VS Afghanistan Thumb
Full Match
Just Highlights