The government on Monday handed over the cash incentives to the Nepali football players. The Prime Minister presented the cash prize of Rs. 300,000 to each of the 23 Nepali football players and Coach Gyotoku Koji, who were the members of the Nepali football team that had won the AFC Solidarity Cup in Kuching of Malaysia some three months ago.
The government had declared to give the cash incentive to the members of the Nepali team after the team lifted the Asian Football Confederation-held football tournament for the first time.
Despite the government respecting its decision to award and honour the players, the three-month long delay in handing over the incentives to the champion players is an issue of concern for the many in the country who want to see their victorious players getting honours and prizes in time.
The unexplained delay in offering the honours and incentives does not encourage anyone – no player, coach, support staff and fans of the sports feel encouraged by the delay in providing the already announced prizes. It would have been a lot better, had the government provided the announced prizes soon after the triumphant players had returned home with the champions trophy. It would still be better if the government had offered the prizes within one or two weeks organising a gala event in honour of the victorious players.
It is not that the government has not had any resources at its disposal. It seems that the bureaucratic hassles in getting the required amount released from the government coffer has taken so much time that the government, or the Ministry of Youth and Sports, could only present the prizes and honours after a delay of about three months. It is not only the delay in offering prizes to the team of the single sports event such as football and others. Our government authority fails to provide cash prizes which it has announced to present to the medal winning players of regional sports events such as the South Asian Games and Asian Games as well as other regional multi-disciplinary events.
If the government can cause such a long delay, one should not be surprised to see delay in offering the announced prizes by the private parties or sports associations that organise various tournaments. In the recent past, the All Nepal Football Association was often blamed for releasing prize money to the winning football clubs with much delay. Though ANFA often increases the prize money of the national football league matches, the winning clubs often accused the football governing body of not providing it with winners’ cheque in time. There was a time when the now-suspended ANFA boss did not like to provide cash prize to the winning team which had vocal critic of him in management and club officials.
An organiser of the national marathon event, working in close association with the Nepal Athletics Association, too has been accused of providing the cash prizes in time. The organiser was blamed for handing over the partial cash prizes to the marathon winner and that too quite late. In the Nepalese sports arena, organisers showing reluctance or causing delay in providing cash prizes to the winning team and players has been a normal practice.
One can only wonder if the government agencies, sports associations and private sports event organisers cannot offer the announced prizes in time to the winning teams and players, then how can the sports of the nation be promoted?
At present, the Nepali sports sector is in dire need of cash and funds to renovate or reconstruct various sports infrastructure that have been damaged by the earthquake. The mobilization of internal and external resources is required to build the new infrastructure or renovate the old one. At present the sports event cannot be organised in the Dashrath Stadium while many indoor playing halls too require timely renovation. However, given the government’s apathetic attitude to sports, it is certain it would take pretty long for funds and budget coming to renovate or construct the damaged sports infrastructure afresh.
The government often says that it has been tied down due to lack of required budget. Bureaucratic hassles too make it a handicap in releasing cash prize funds for the players. Given the government constraint, it would nevertheless be pleasing to see our players getting the government bounty, though after much delay. However, it would be prudent for the government that they should give utmost priority to hand over the cash incentives to the players just after our players return home triumphantly, for it would encourage and boost players, officials and fans alike and would be a stepping step in the promotion of the overall sports in the nation.