KATHMANDU, June 23: The government halted the regular load shedding because the World Cup final was on in 2010. People were awake and driving back home at 3 in the morning after the game was over.
Such was the scenario during the World Cup 2010 finals and the match between Spain and Germany was definitely worth waking up for.
But the question remains: Just how big is football in Nepal?
Republica caught up with four football enthusiasts, Gunjan Das Shrestha, 25; Adriz Basnet, 17; Ayush Manandhar, 19, and Shefalika Gautam, 16, and asked them about football and its craze in Kathmandu and about the run-up to the Euro Cup, 2012.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you stand as a football fanatic?
Gunjan: That would be a 7 for me because I just watch the interesting matches with my friends.
Adriz: I would rate myself anywhere from 7 to 7.5 because I have to study and I don’t get to watch football matches as often in the hostel in Delhi where I’m studying.
Ayush: I would say 8. I started watching football because my older brothers used to watch it and now I enjoy it.
Shefalika: For me, it’s a 6 because I watch matches when there are bigger games, like the World Cup or Euro Cup. Other matches really don’t interest me, I guess.
Have you ever gotten into a heated discussion because the team you were supporting lost?
From left: Shefalika Gautam, Gunjan Das Shrestha, Ayush Manandhar, Adriz Basnet
Ayush: I used to get into heated arguments with a lot of friends when I was in college and I still do with my friends because we support different clubs. But it doesn’t get serious. It’s all part of the fun!
Gunjan: Once we were watching a match at a friend’s place and even our teachers were there. We would hit, slowly of course, and I think swearing is quite common when you’re watching in pubs or restaurants.
Shefalika: A friend and I got into a discussion with my teacher once when I was in the 9th grade. We were supporting one team and our teacher was supporting the other. Come to think of it, it’s funny now but we did discuss a lot.
Adriz: I haven’t had a discussion as such. But once during the match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, there was a small fight and I guess it happens and that’s common.
What do you think of the football scenario in Nepal?
Ayush: My parents watch matches when Nepal is playing, otherwise they don’t. But with the youth today, they are more informed about international matches than their own countries’ games.
Gunjan: No, I would say the youth are very patriotic when it comes to these games. I had friends who played for All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) but they moved on because there is no financial stability. Also, I think players need to be disciplined for the whole team to move forward.
Adriz: The national team needs more push from the country, financially and morally. They need to commercialize it and that’s when the players will be paid more and that’s when they’ll prosper. That’s what I think.
How far have you gone to watch a match?
Gunjan: My brother had a house in Bhainsepati. So we told our parents that we were going there but we landed up in a restaurant. I was with my friends and my brother was with his bunch and this was during the +2 board exams. We had fun!
Adriz: Once we broke a lock to the TV room and watched a match in the hostel. Also, I remember we had our grade nine finals going on and Brazil was playing. So I told my parents that I was going out and watched the match. At that time, failing was OK but we had to watch the match somehow.
Ayush: My brothers were diehard fans of football, so I never really had objections to watch matches.
Shefalika: I’m clean on this but my friends sneak out and watch the matches.