Bhawana Ghimire is a well known name in sports management. She was appointed the first female CEO of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) in October 2014. She worked for CAN as CEO for 21 months and is currently the executive director of Bat and Ball Foundation (B2F), a non-profit organization which aims to work in the field of cricket development.
In conversation with Republica’s Prasansha Rimal she talks about her experience as CEO of CAN and challenges and opportunities in the field of sports development in Nepal.
Why did you choose to work in the field of sports?
Before I was appointed as the CEO of CAN, I used to work for a wealth management company called Western Gulf Advisory in Bahrain. This company was also involved in various sports-related activities from organizing sporting events to doing wealth acquisition of various football clubs.
This exposed me to the field of sports and even though I didn’t play cricket as a child, I used to watch cricket with my brother and was interested in the sport. I knew lots of changes could be brought into this field in Nepal so when I saw the vacancy I applied for the post and got the job.
How difficult is it to work in the field of sports management in Nepal?
It is difficult to work in the field of sports management in Nepal. You have to face lots of challenges regarding structural issue. The principle of management has still not been applied to manage this sector and when you want to work according to the principles and the philosophy of management, it creates a difficult scenario. And when there is a problem in the board, the whole management system has to face the challenge. It is also difficult to implement new ideas and get it approved by the board.
Is it difficult to manage political interference in Nepal’s sports?
I personally didn’t have to face any political interference while working for CAN. But I do know that political interference does exist. When you reach a higher post, you will have to work with people affiliated to different political parties. Although there is no direct interference, you can find people making personal allegations due to political affiliation which I feel affects the efficiency of the management team.
How was your overall experience of working with CAN?
My experience of working with CAN was both positive and negative. This field has lots of opportunities as is still unexplored. I tried my best to bring positive changes and even succeeded. And sometimes when the team lost, I tried finding ways to improve our performance. I found groupism within this field, and people working in the same field were not motivated by unity but formed groups which sometimes made it harder to deliver.
What changes are you planning to bring through B2F?
I lived abroad for many years and children there volunteer every weekend. They have healthy environment and platform to do whatever they want to, whether it is playing football, cricket or joining a dance group. Through B2F we aim to create the same healthy platform to children who want to play and may be an expert in this field. We aim to provide them with the overall infrastructure and technical support needed to play this sport. The main objective of this project is to create the best platform for players and to modernize cricket, connecting the society with the spirit and culture of the game.
As a woman, was it difficult for you establish yourself in the field of sports?
To be honest, it was not. I never let my gender define my capability. I have got the same education as my male colleagues so why should I feel that I am weak and incapable? I never thought that I needed extra advantage just because of my gender and always viewed myself as a strong contender and believed in my capability.