Members of Tribhuvan Army Club pose with the trophy as they celebrate after defeating Jhapa XI in the final of the Jhapa Gold Cup football tournament in Birtamod, Jhapa on Monday. Photo: Yuvraj Bibas
DAMAK, March 12: Departmental team Tribhuvan Army Club has clinched its third Jhapa Gold cup title defeating home team Jhapa XI in the final match played at Doma Lal Rajbanshi Stadium in Birtamode on Monday.
This was Jhapa XI’s fourth straight loss in the final match, three times against the Army Club, in the gold cup’s four-year history.
Unbeaten Army Club defeated Jhapa 5-4 in the thrilling final to lift the trophy. Jhapa had lost the first and third season against the same opposition. Army Club received a cash prize of Rs 1.2 million, whereas Jhapa had to settle with Rs 605,000.
In the high scoring match, Army scored two goals in the first half and three goals in the second to seal the championship. Army’s Santosh Tamang converted a direct free-kick to open the scorings, his first of the two goals, in the match followed by skipper Bharat Khawas, Tek Bahadur Budhathoki, and Nawayug Shrestha’s goals in dominant display of attacking football.
On the other hand, Jhapa hung in with goals scored by Yogesh Gurung and overseas players Francis and Victor, but failed to prevent the defeat by the final whistle.
In a houseful match with spectators turning up in large numbers, Jhapa and Army both fielded their best available playing XIs. Popular players like regular striker Karna Limbu, defender Devendra Tamang, and Dilen Loktam adorned the home team whereas Shrestha, Khawas and goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu were in the winning side. Tamang was adjudged player of the final. His teammate Shrestha received Rs 21,000 for being top goal-scorer of the tournament with three goals, including one in the final.
Loktam of Jhapa XI won the award for the most valuable player of the tournament, and was handed over a brand new motorbike. His teammate Thapa won the best defender award along with a cash prize of Rs 21,000. Similarly, Nishant Khadka won Rs 15,000 for being judged as rising player of the tournament followed by Army’s Chun Bahadur Thapa as the best coach and Kuthu as the best keeper. Both received Rs 21,000 each. Likewise, the recipient of lifetime achievement award, Narendra Mani Limbu, received a motorbike.
A total of 10 teams, including clubs from Hong Kong and Cameroon, participated in the tournament. The tournament featured host Jhapa XI, three departmental teams (Tribhuvan Army Club, Armed Police Force Club, and Nepal Police Club), two A-Division League teams (Manang Marshyangdi Club and Three Star Club), and other teams including Morang XI Football Club, Rupandehi Football Club, Dauphins Football Club (Cameroon), and Nepalese Academy (Hong Kong).