By a Staff Reporter
Kathmandu – APF Football Club had fielded Japanese goalkeeper Yuya Kuriyama during their Qatar Airways Martyrs Memorial A Division League match against Friends Club on Monday. Kuriyama had been residing in Nepal for some time. Coincidentally, APF who had lost their first four league matches, won the fifth match 3-1 in Kuriyama’s debut.
It was the first time in history of Nepalese football that a departmental team had fielded a foreign player. Another departmental team Tribhuvan Army Football Club, who also have acquired AFC license, have not yet signed any foreign player till date.
“We have signed up a foreign player for the first time in club history,” said APF coach Kumar Thapa, adding, “Our regular goalkeeper Amrit Chaudhary had to undergo surgery while substitute goalkeeper Raju Yogi is not fully fit. We were in need of a goalkeeper when we found Kuriyama, who was in communication with another club. However, the club did not have any more quota left for foreign players so we acquired him.”
Thapa argued that it will cost a good fortune to bring a highly qualified foreign player. He added that they are in talks with a player from Mali who has married a Nepali girl and has been living in Nepal.
“Probably, he will join us by the next match,” said Thapa. He added that they are also looking for a forward. “A lot of budget is required to bring a professional and high quality player. In such case, we will have to spend Rs 4 to 5 million only for a foreign player. This is not easy for a Nepalese club,” said Thapa.
Elated with their first win, Thapa said that the tailenders’ game has become quite interesting to watch. “We are satisfied with four points. This is our first win. Our game is improving one after another. Aashish should have scored a hat-trick during the game.”
With their first win, APF have moved out of the relegation zone. On the other hand, Friends are under further pressure with just two points as they lie on the rock bottom of the points table.
Friends’ coach Mrigendra Mishra said that his side seemed as if they had forgotten to play football after 25 minutes.
“They played well during the first 25 minutes. The players also created two/three chances. However, it seemed like the players forgot to play after conceding a goal. Their morale went down,” said Mishra.
Coach Mishra said that the team lacked leadership in the absence of Captain Prakash Budhathoki. He, however, said that he will attempt to display an improved performance with the available players.
“Our target this time is to avoid relegation,” he added.