Nepal is the new South Asian Football Champions. Congratulations to the Nepali football team. Thanks go to Nepal Police for investigation into match-fixing in October 2015. This has made possible to bring youths in the team, and to promote quality and integrity in the game. And there is a lesson learned for Nepalese politics.
Nepal ended their 23-year wait for football gold as they rallied from a goal down to beat arch rivals India 2-1 in the final of the 12th South Asian Games at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Guwahati, India. Nepal last won the title in the South Asian Federation Games in 1993 defeating India 4-3 in tie-breaker.Salute and congratulations to players, coach and officials for their success. The winning team is full of young players and new faces. Your energy, team spirit, and more important your integrity have worked.
While we celebrate the success, we must thank Nepal Police for adding integrity to football game. Hadn’t Nepal Police revealed match-fixing, we would have the same faith of losing the games. According to SarbendraKhanal, Chief of Metropolitan Police Crime Division, this was the first time that Nepal Police has investigated such a case, bringing accusations of offense against the state.The information that led to the investigation came originally from the monitoring of betting patterns that is part of a long term relationship between the Asian Football Confederation Sportradar Security Services.
We have a similar wait, 23-years down from the restoration of multi-party parliamentary system to bring real democracy and change to the common people. Can we draw a parallel between the politics and football in Nepal? If yes, then we have a lesson to be learned from football match-fixing and now the winning of football gold.
For a long time, Nepalese politics has been suffered by match-fixing and tired leadership. From elections to the formation and dissolution of governments, there is match-fixing. From awarding contracts to transfer of staff, there is match-fixing. The political leadership is arbitrary, non-transparent in political financing and lack of new thinking. Youth are taken for granted, youth leaders are seen as the future, not the present. Old guards continue as youth leaders.
We need serious restructuring of political parties and political culture. It should be the departure point of state restructuring, not federalism. For this, political party financing must be transparent, followed by democratic practices and inclusive orientation. The Transparency International rates Nepal’s political party as the most corrupt institution because both the sources and use of funds are not transparent. The citizen will not have confidence in the political parties and politiciansunless they guarantee that they are acting in the interest of the public, not those of select individual or business.
Likewise, we need more youths in political leadership. Young people have been at the core of every social movement in the history, but not in leadership. The citizen would like to seethe political leadership produce more young leaders, who can score goals. While we preach for youth leadership, youth should also be prepared to walk with integrity. This is the first and foremost quality of being a good leader.
Drawing a parallel, let us promote quality and integrity both in sports and politics, and let us bring more youth in leadership and management.
Dr. Prabin Manandhar is an expert of international development. Currently, he is working as Country Director of The Lutheran World Federation. He is also a visiting faculty at the Kathmandu University. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org