KATMANDU, OCTOBER 31
Nepalese national football team coach Abdullah Almutairi returned to Nepal on Saturday after signing a new agreement with the All Nepal Football Association for a further three-year term.
Almutairi was appointed head coach of the Nepal Men’s National Team in April for a year. It was sent to Nepal by the Qatar Football Association at the request of ANFA.
AFC coach and professional licensee, Almutairi has an atypical relationship with Nepalese football.
Almutairi’s tenure has been marred by scandals, although he received broad support from supporters, especially on social media, after the national team put on lively performances in the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup in Kuwait.
Later, social media was abuzz with his argument with ANFA vice president Pankaj Nembang. Another controversy ensued after he verbally assaulted two sports journalists at the ANFA complex after one of them questioned the coach about smoking in a public place.
In his disagreement with ANFA, Almutairi announced his resignation on July 25 through his social media account, accusing Nembang of interfering with his duties. The problem is also believed to be related to the apologies requested by reporters for the episode of verbal abuse.
Nembang denied Almutairi’s accusations and called for an investigation into the case.
Following this, ANFA advised Almutairi to take a break and refrain from commenting on the incident to the media while an investigation was carried out.
Failed to find a solution, ANFA called an emergency meeting on July 30 to urge the Ministry of Youth and Sports to look into the matter.
On August 2, shortly after the ANFA decision, Almutairi apologized on social media for the controversy surrounding his previous statement, in which he said he was leaving his post due to a disagreement with a senior ANFA official.
Relations between the head coach and ANFA appeared to be normal following the incidents, but Almuitairi unexpectedly announced his departure after Nepal reached the SAFF Championship final in the Maldives, despite his contract being valid until September 2022.
Almutairi said the SAFF final was his last game as coach of the Nepalese soccer team and that he would never return to Nepal.
Nepal lost to India in the final and Almutairi was forced to witness the 3-0 defeat from the stands due to his suspension.
He had flown to Qatar from the Maldives. ANFA President Karma Tsering Sherpa, meanwhile, visited Qatar and met with Almutairi and QFA officials, after which Almutairi signed the contract renewal agreement.
“Our next goal is to win the SAFF championship,” the very popular Almutairi told the media immediately after arriving in Kathmandu.
Compiled by Sandeep Sen