2011 Martyr's Memorial A-Division League
|Champions||Nepal Police Club|
Brigade Boys Club
United Youth Club
Koilapani Polestar Club
The 2011 Martyr's Memorial A-Division League (known as the Martyrs' Memorial Red Bull 'A' Division League Football Tournament 2011 for sponsorship reasons) was the 39th season of the A-Division League since its establishment in 1954/55. A total of 18 teams competed in the league. The season began on 28 April 2011 and concluded on 16 July 2011.
Defending champion Nepal Police Club won the league.
This is the highest participation in a season in the history of the league. Altogether 153 matches were played at the Dasharath Stadium and Hallchowk Ground. ANFA cut the league short this season keeping in view the increased number of ´A´ division clubs. The timing also had to be reduced to final constraints and the timing of world cup qualifiers. The major was due the inception of National League (Nepal) as the top-tier league of country. So the league had returned to single leg round robin formation.
Nepal Police proved to be the best maintaining undefeated streak till the 16th match and scoring the highest number of goals (54) while conceding only seven goals.Big spending club of the season, Manang Marshyangdi was also equally good but police proved to be better in terms of scoring. MMC scored 42 and conceded seven goals. However, MMC could not lift league trophy despite enrolling star players like Anil Gurung, Santosh Sahukhala, Sandeep Rai, Nirajan Khadka.
However, Jawalakhel Youth was the club to have the most significant rise in the league. JYC, which finished last season in the seventh position among 12 teams, jumped to third place this time. After finishing 2039 BS league in the second position, this was the best result for the club. Meanwhile, JYC won fair play award and its credit goes to coach Kishor KC without doubt. The coach maintained the discipline in the team and made players work hard on the field.
New Road Team (NRT) and RCT maintained a good run in the league with average players while Bansbari Club gained the reputation of giant killer after defeating Three Star, RCT and Armed Police Force. But its reputation was later tarnished by match fixing rumors in the match against Machhindra Club.
Despite a shaky start, Army Club bounced back and stormed into the top eight. But, another departmental team APF could not come up with better result. The last season relegation battler signed a number of talented players for this season but finished only in the 12th position.
Relegated Koilapani Polestar, United Youth, Brigade Boys and last season´s wonder Machhindra could not do well in the season. Machhindra had finished sixth last season.
Police coach Birat Krishna Shrestha proved to be best. However, JYC Coach Kishor KC, NRT Coach Raju Shakya, RCT Coach Madhu Karki, Bansbari Coach Hari Om Shrestha deserve praise as they handled the average teams well and finished on the mid-table.
Meanwhile, four coaches left the team in the middle of the league tournament. MMC coach Bal Gopal Maharjan left the club after the arrival of Korean coach Lee-Tae Ho. MMC management was not happy with the performance of Maharjan.
Likewise, Army Club coach Dambar Singh Gurung left the club after two losses, three draws and two wins in the initital eight matches.
Machhindra Club coach Chhiring Lopsang quit the club blaming management interference while Koilapani coach Raju Pulami pulled out after the club´s poor performance.
Influential foreign players
Altogether 48 foreign players were featured in the league. All clubs except three departmental teams and Koilapani featured foreign players. Among foreign players, two were from India, two from Pakistan and one each from Japan and Korea. Others were Africans.
African players like Gerard Mukonza (JYC), Eugene Gray (Baudhha FC), Dennis Ovko Ochieng (Bansbari), Aarone Blackie Cole (NRT), Ntolo Ngoumou (RCT) and Naveed Akram (Saraswati) were the best.
However, Himalayan Sherpa´s Castory D Mumbara and Allen Oryek could not fit the bill, which they had gained in the last season.
Koilapani Polestar, the only club from outside valley in the league, nearly quit the tournament as it was hit by financial crunch. Even big spending clubs were seen surviving on donations from fans and locals. Except departmental teams, NRT, RCT and Friends, other clubs lack regular income source.
After the revelation of Koilapani´s plight, ANFA faced severe criticism for not having proper regulation about club management. The question over the financial and legal structure of a club to participate in the top flight tournament still remains unanswered.
The league this season could not bring in large number of club supporters. Rumors of match fixing last season, ANFA mismanagement and three matches a day for more than three months were the resons behind the poor turnout.
However, matches like MMC vs Three Star, MMC vs Police and Police vs Three Star pulled few thousands to the stadium.
Controversy over referee decision
Clubs management and coaches blamed the referee decisions for their losses. MMC President Tashi Ghale even threatened to quit National League if referees´ competence is not enhanced. RCT coach Madhu Karki also had demanded action against referees who made unwise decisions.
However, referee inspectors and ANFA official have urged clubs to inculcate the culture of accepting defeats.
Some of the matches were played on grounds made swampy by incessant rains. Match between Three Star and Army was played on waterlogged Dasharath Stadium Ground. The matches played on the first week of July were played on the ground resembling a paddy field.
In some matches, fans were found indulging in vandalism. Bauddha fans vandalized seats of the parapet after the club conceded a penalty goal against Three Star and the latter´s fans involved in the similar incident when Nepal Police beat them. Security personnel were found provoking Three Star fans during the match.
Nepal Police personnel mobilized for security were found clashing with Army Club supporters after the completion of their match.
However, ANFA could not do anything to control such acts except fining Baudhha FC and Three Star Club.
The league was also surrounded by demand by players and clubs to pay taxes as some figure payments and expenditure were mouthwatering for general people. The clubs reacted by saying the dire financial situations clubs have led the payments in tokens and not in monthly salaries. Also the foreign players were playing without the proper permission from Labour and Foreign Ministries. The ANFA defended itself by stating non-existence of such rules for athletes and football players.
|Champions; Qualification to SAFF Club Championship|
|Relegated to Second Division at the end of season|
|1||Nepal Police Club||17||14||2||1||54||7||+47||44|
|2||Manang Marsyangdi Club||17||14||2||1||42||7||+35||44|
|3||Jawalakhel Youth Club||17||11||3||3||35||15||+20||36|
|4||Three Star Club||17||11||1||5||31||12||+19||34|
|5||Yeti Himalayan Sherpa Club||17||9||6||2||45||16||+29||33|
|6||Ranipokhari Corner Team||17||10||3||4||40||23||+17||33|
|7||New Road Team||17||9||5||3||27||15||+12||32|
|8||Nepal Army Club||17||8||5||4||35||17||+18||29|
|10||Mahindra Bansbari Club||17||6||3||8||20||28||−8||21|
|11||Boudha Football Club||17||5||5||7||18||27||−9||20|
|12||Nepal Armed Police Force||17||5||3||9||30||26||+4||18|
|14||Machhindra Football Club||17||3||5||9||20||28||−8||14|
|16||Brigade Boys Club||17||2||4||11||9||41||−32||10|
|17||United Youth Club||17||1||3||13||10||61||−51||6|
|18||Koilapani Polestar Club||17||0||3||14||12||78||−66||3|