Players feel uncomfortable while taking part in an international contest without practicing at the Dasharath Stadium.
KATHMANDU: Four years on, Dashrath Rangashala Stadium, the only international stadium of Nepal, is still under-construction.
A Chinese company, which is repairing the stadium, has said that it will complete the maintenance only by November 1. However, stakeholders including players have doubts about the timely completion of the stadium.
Once a lively stadium full of sport activities, it looks messy, disorganized and topsy-turvy, currently, with construction materials strewn everywhere.
Once you enter the stadium, you will see the path to the main field blocked by zinc sheets. A heap of rubbish lies on the left-hand side of the inner gate. The monument to martyr Dashrath Chand, after which the stadium is named, in front of the parking lot, covered in dust constituting a disgrace to the revered martyr.
The clinking and discordant sounds produced by the workers in course of construction have further contributed to painting a bleak picture for the stadium.
With few months to go before the South Asian Games, Nepali players participating in the contest should have been undergoing hard-core training in the stadium, instead of being deprived of it.
According to officials at the National Sports Council (NSC), the construction, which must have been completed by the second week of July, was delayed over the differences whether the stadium to be revamped or to be retrofitted only. Finally, the concerned officials went for retrofitting the stadium. The only international stadium was destroyed by the mega earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, and My 12, 2015.
The inauguration of the 13th SAG is scheduled to begin at the Dashrath Stadium on December 1. The construction is undergoing in full swing to meet the November 1 deadline as agreed upon between the Chinese company and the NSC, said Ramesh Kumar Silwal, member secretary of the NSC.
“We have been asking the Chinese company to handover the stadium at the earliest. We are not allowed to do any sports-related training prior to the completion of the stadium as per the agreement,” said Silwal.
Nepal was supposed to play the Asian edition of FIFA World Cup 2020 Qualifiers with Kuwait in its home ground. The NSC has already decided that Nepal will play both ‘home and away’ games in Kuwait due to the lack of timely completion of the Dashrath Stadium.
According to Arjun Upadhyaya, chief of the Construction Branch of the NSC, around 90 percent of the construction is over. The remaining 10 percent work will be completed within the next three months. The remaining works include VIP parapet roofing, installation of chairs in the general parapet and repairing ground among others. Similarly, fixing floodlights, screen boards, and building running tracks on the ground are other works to be done.
The ground is covered in long grass. “Even if the stadium is handed over to the NSC by November 1, there will still be some works to do for which the remaining one month won’t be sufficient, said Upadhyaya.
National football team captain Biraj Maharjan is worried over the delay in stadium maintenance. Players need to be accustomed to the stadium to take advantage of the home ground.
“Players feel uncomfortable while taking part in an international contest without practicing at the Dashrath Stadium. Practice matches are likely to be affected due to the lack of timely completion of the stadium,” said Maharjan.
Member secretary Silwal said the infrastructure has been the main challenge for holding the SAG. The SAG schedule will be affected unless the maintenance of stadium is completed on time.
Postponed for three times already, if the upcoming schedule were deferred again, it would question Nepal’s ability in holding the SAG.
That is why all the stakeholders concerned have to pull up their socks to complete the infrastructure and maintenance of the Dashrath Stadium on time.