The power of football has travelled from Qatar to Kaski as the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) opened a new community football pitch in Nepal.
Nestled in the foothills of the breathtaking Himalayas, SC assistant secretary general Nasser al-Khater joined Nepal’s Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun at the official inauguration of the pitch in the village of Bhandardhik.
Located in the Kaski region, the facility was funded by the SC and opened in conjunction with partners Right To Play and Mercy Corps as part of the flagship CSR programme Generation Amazing. It is the third pitch to be opened in Nepal in 2016. A fourth will be launched on Friday in nearby Kailali.
Addressing an audience of around 2,000 people, al-Khater spoke with pride as he reflected on the impact the 2022 FIFA World Cup is already having throughout Asia.
He said: “I was honoured to be involved in this event and open the pitch with the Vice President of Nepal. There are around 500,000 Nepalese people living in Qatar. They are a huge part of our country, helping to build our country and prepare for the World Cup.
“This programme and these pitches are our opportunity to give something back to the communities in Nepal when Nepal has given so much to us.
“Today is what the World Cup is all about. To see the sheer joy that football can bring to people’s lives is why we bid in the first place. We have always said football has the power to unite people and bring about social change. This is living proof of that belief.”
The Generation Amazing programme was borne as a result of the original Qatar 2022 Bid Committee. By the end of 2016 a total of 12 community pitches will have been launched in Nepal as a result of the Generation Amazing programme.
On Saturday the initiative was taken to a whole new level as the village of Bhandardhik ground to a halt to witness the arrival of their Vice President and participation of a number of football personalities, including former Nepal national goalkeeper Upendra Man Singh.
In 2015, the region was devastated by an earthquake – but on Saturday there were only smiles and laughter as the community felt the positive impact of football.
Praising the work of the SC and its partners Right to Play and Mercy Cops, Bahadur Pun promised the pitch was just the start for the community and the entire country as it looks to develop its own football infrastructure.
He said: “Today we celebrate this occasion with the launch of this new pitch. It is a great day for the community but it is only the beginning.
“This pitch, this stadium will become a vital facility for the community. It will get bigger and better. Football can inspire in so many ways and I hope this pitch can help do that for our people.
“Nepal has strong ties with Qatar and we are thankful for the work and contribution of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy. Today is a day to remember.”
When the drills were over, two mixed teams created their own piece of history as the first football match on the new pitch got under way.
Watching on was Rakshya Pandit, an 18-year-old Nepali girl whose life changed forever in 2014 when she became a Generation Amazing Youth Ambassador. She joined fellow Youth Ambassadors Sudarshan Shrestha, Muna Pangali, Dipesh Khadka, Karuna Syangtan and Suman Kingring.
Rakshya travelled to Qatar and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil as part of the Generation Amazing programme – and subsequently started running her own football tournament for the community as a result of the experience.
“I can’t really say enough about what this programme means and the experience it has given me,” she said.
“I became an Ambassador in 2014 after undergoing a wide community selection process and I was lucky enough to go to Qatar and travel to Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I am grateful that the community, my school and my parents all supported me in this epic adventure.
“Thank you to Generation Amazing for this opportunity. It is an experience that I will never forget.”
The facility will be run and used by the Adarsha Youth Club – whose main office showcases a framed picture of a Generation Amazing programme nestled among their silverware.
Laxmi Prashad Bhandari, president of the Adarsha Youth Club, struggled to hide his emotions as he reflected on what had been a monumental day for his club.
He added: “So many people have worked hard for this moment. This has been our dream and our vision for such a long time. We are thankful to the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy for helping to make this happen. This facility will be here forever. It will change people’s lives and I am proud to be part of that.” (SC.qa)
SC assistant secretary general Nasser al-Khater speaks at the official inauguration of the pitch in the village of Bhandardhik.
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