POKHARA, July 18: Even after laying the foundation stone for the Sahara Academy hostel three years ago, Sahara Club and its officials were uncertain if they would be able to manage funds for the construction.
But after three years, the academy building is almost complete and they are very happy that their hardship and dedication has been rewarded.
The academy is a two-story facility with nine rooms and three halls. There is also a dining hall and a medical hall.
An elated Bikram Thakali, the president of Sahara Club, says anything can be achieved if one works with selflessness and dedication. "I spent several sleepless nights after we laid the foundation stone for the hostel as we had no idea how to collect the Rs 12.5 million required for the construction," Thakali told Republica on the academy premises on Tuesday.
But the hard work of club officials and support from donors made the construction possible. The hostel is located at Pokhara Sub-metropolis Ward Number 17, Dobilla. According to Thakali people inside and outside the country provided donations for the construction.
According to Bishwaraj Baral, the club´s treasurer, they have so far spent Rs 12.7 million for the construction. "Rs 800,000 has been spent for the kitchen and dining hall, Rs 500,000 for the compound wall, Rs 400,000 for fencing the compound, Rs 1 million for levelling the ground and Rs 2.2 million for installing a borewell. Cookham Bridge Rotary UK provided funds for the borewell.
The club plans to make the ground usable by the upcoming Aaha Gold Cup to be held in January/February.
"Excluding the cost of land, the cost will reach Rs 20 million by the time the construction is complete. The cost may increase further if we add other infrastructure," Baral said.
The club had bought 26 ropanis of land some seven year ago in Dobilla. The club is planning to make a playground in the remaining 19 ropanis of land that remains after the construction of the academy building.
The club has so far received about Rs 10 million from different donors. Sahara UK alone has donated Rs 5 million, which it collected from different sources and individuals. Besides this, they also received donations from Hong Kong, Korea, Australia, Gulf countries, Japan and other countries.
"Currently we are also managing funds from internal resources as the donations are insufficient. We also spent the income from Aaha Gold Cup for the construction," Baral said.
According to President Thakali, funds permitting, the club has plan to construct a multi-purpose building on the academy premises and this building will include a swimming pool, tennis court and parapet.
The club aims to provide education along with football training to the poor, backward and orphan children with the view to produce quality football players in the future.
The club established in 2055 BS, provided football training to 20 children of Pokhara for the first time in 2058 BS. National player Anil Gurung is a product of the first batch of the academy.
In 2061 BS, the club started residential academy and trained 20 children from 13 districts. Among them nine players were enrolled in second tier Boys Union Club last year. Though the new academy building is meant for 40 children, the club is planning to admit only 20 children in the first phase. The players will be selected from across the country.
Meanwhile, national player and the product of the academy Anil Gurung said he is pleased to see the new academy building of the club. "This is great achievement for the club and a result of hard work of the officials and support from all sides," Gurung said. "Whatever I am today is because of the Sahara Club. I always wish for Sahara´s success. Nepali football could gain a new high if all players are trained in a facility like this.
The donors of Sahara opine that they have supported the club due to its dedication to football. "Sahara has made great contribution to football and the products of the academy have gained national fame," said Nepal Army´s Western Division Commander Victory Sumsher JB Rana, who donated Rs 50,000 to the club on Tuesday.