KATHMANDU, June 20: Ganesh Khadka, 21, is an emerging talent of the country´s football squad. Limited to bench in the qualifying round of Group D in AFC U-22 Championship Football tournament, Khadka is eagerly waiting for his turn to prove his mettle.
Friday was yet another sunny day when this scribe met Khadka who had just returned sweating after a hectic morning´s closed-door training session.
"We will definitely be selected," an optimistic Khadka said with his eyes wide open on the ANFA football ground.
Khadka time and again criticized for his short temper on the field says he still has miles to go. "My short temper had cost my position in Manang Marshangdi Club (MMC)," he admits. Hari Khadka, former national striker and assistant coach of U-22 football team too believes Ganesh has to contain his short temper. "I can´t criticize his performance but his short temper may cost his career dearly," Hari Khadka echoed.
Ganesh Khadka originally from Surkhet grew up at SOS (Save Our Souls) Children´s Village. "He was brought as a small kid at Itahari SOS village as the Surkhet´s SOS center was over-crowded," Ramesh Tamrakar, deputy national director and director of SOS Children´s Village, Itahari recalled. "He developed his passion for football as he grew up."
Life in SOS village for Khadka was more fun where a group of 10 children live in around 14 houses with a mother in each house and altogether 14 houses combine to form the veritable village. "There are lots of opportunities in SOS for children that they rarely get outside," said Tamrakar.
Khadka grew up playing football dreaming to one day hone his skills to match those of Brazilian star Romário. "I still remember how hard my coach Sashi Thapa Magar in Itahari tried to make my dream come true," recalls Khadka.
Now in the 11th year, Khadka´s journey to ANFA academy is no less interesting. Failing to get selected in the U-10 ANFA squad for the first time, a dejected Khadka escaped from Itahari center. "We informed the press and the police to trace his whereabouts," Tamrakar said. He was later found in Sijuwabari center, Morang when a teacher called up Tamrakar and informed Khadka was safe with him and asked the latter if his center still wanted to take Khadka under its custody. "How can a father (kids in SOS village call the director as father) let his son´s dream go unfulfilled," Tamrakar said.
Khadka didn´t have to wait long to get enrolled in ANFA academy. "He was selected the following year," Tamrakar recalls.
The turning point in Khadka´s life came after his enrolment at the ANFA academy. "I got the opportunity to learn a lot from experts," Khadka said recalling how his carefree lifestyle turned into the one bound by strict regimen. He was among the talents that ANFA had hunted across the country.
Still unaware of his biological parents, Khadka misses the love and affection they would have showered him with. With every passing year of his life, he now feels he would have been happier with his parents. "I miss mother´s love and father´s care," said Khadka almost breaking down.
Khadka now under the protection of Himalayan Sherpa Team dreams of joining Nepal Police Club one day. A great admirer of Portugal´s Christiano Ronaldo, friends like to call him Ronaldo for his speed and dribbling skills, is supporting Portugal in Euro Cup 2012.