KATHMANDU, May 6: British Gurkha soldier Naresh Gurung dreamed of his son Nawal playing professional football in England and his 9-year old son joined junior training program with Tottenham Hotspurs. Unfortunately at 15, he had to undergone hernia operation just days before his trials and missed his chance to make it to the club´s reserve.
Then he tried his luck with another English club Aston Villa but could not succeed there either. "Series of injuries frustrated me and I decided to study sports medicine at the University of Kent," Nawal told Republica.
Nawal could not gave up his passion for football and joined Sahara UK, a football club of Nepalis in Britain to play amateur football. He came to Nepal to play Aaha Gold Cup in Pokhara and made an impression with Nepali coaches.
"I had called him to play for the national team in 2010 when I was in charge," said senior football coach Krishna Thapa. However, Nawal could not join the Nepali team as he was a British national. The boy returned to England and completed FA Level II coaching course in 2011.
Nawal is currently one of the coaching staff and physio of Nepali U-22 team coached by Thapa. He also looks after Nepali A division club Yeti Himalayan Sherpa as a coach.
"As I could not play for Nepali national team because of my British passport, this is the second best option to serve this country," said Nawal about his coaching cum physio duties with the club and the U-22 team.
"I was thinking of taking UEFA B License coaching course when I was in UK. To apply for the course, you should have at least a 9-month coaching experience and manage a professional club," said Gurung. "I was looking for a club to hire me and Yeti Himalayan Sherpa gambled on me," he revealed his reasons behind his coaching career in Nepal.
Gurung helped Yeti Himalayan Sherpa, which enrolled young players in the team to win Birat Gold Cup title. He also guided the club to the final of KB Kandangwa Memorial Football Tournament as well as semifinals of the Budhasubba Gold Cup and British Gurkha Cup.
After proving himself, Gurung got the opportunity of being part of the U-22 national team and he is overwhelmed. "I was ready to help national side in any capacity. I had told ANFA officials that I would join team even if it meant setting cones for training," said Gurung. "It would be a life changing experience for me," he added.
Gurung, 29, opined that any coach could reach at his peak only in his late forties. "You should have experiences of the game and knowledge about human body to be a successful coach," said Gurung. "Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has done masters in sports psychology while Arsenal coach Wengar has done masters in sports medicine."
Gurung thinks football coaches should mix science to their experience to succeed. "I met some footballers with injuries and one of them told me that he fractured his leg and had plastered it for weeks. But he played right after removing the plaster using injections. There are many such examples here. A coach should not ignore science and they should understand human body," said Gurung.
After pointing out the importance of science in coaching, he put forward his own experience to prove it. "My father used to push me to remain fit and play football. When I perform well, he push me to do more exercise and whenever I could not perform well, he forced me to do more exercise saying I was not fit during the match," recalled Gurung. "He was a soldier and he thought exercise was the only way to make me fit and it overload me," he added.
With his own experience and knowledge of sports science, Gurung is now concerned about providing scientific training to boys. "Every individual has his or her own style of movement. On the other hand fitness level should be different as per the position they play in," said Gurung. "We have to understand these facts while training a team. We should deal with individuals. Meanwhile, we should not forget that team spirit is essential in football," he revealed his coaching mantras.
Despite having vast theoretical knowledge, Gurung thinks he is at the beginning of his coaching career. "I´m too young in coaching terms. If I get chance to take the UEFA B License coaching course, I could excel in coaching since there are very few coaches with the license even in England," said Gurung.
To become eligible for the UEFA course, Gurung must excel first in Nepal with the Yeti Himalayan Sherpa Club in the upcoming season.